Baldwin is discharged from hospital, doing OK

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Relief pitcher had fainted on Thursday night

`they said it's common,' he says

Notebook

September 04, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - Given a clean bill of health, reliever James Baldwin returned to the Orioles yesterday and was available to pitch, two days after fainting on the team charter to Boston.

Baldwin was discharged from Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday morning after spending the night there and undergoing more tests. He was taken to the emergency room Thursday night and released, but the team's medical staff insisted that he return as a precaution.

"I didn't want to go back, but that was the only way I was going to get on the field," he said.

"They said it was just from being exhausted and whatever. They said it was a typical thing that happens in life. They said it's common. You know how sometimes you get up too fast? That's what happened."

Asked if the experience scared him, Baldwin said, "What do you think? I'm only 34 years old, man."

He wasn't the only one shook up by the experience.

"Somebody came up and told me and I went back to check on him," Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "That's never good. You always worry about your people. Being sick's one thing, but ... "

The Orioles cleared Baldwin to participate in all activities yesterday. They were being especially careful with him Friday, as memories of Steve Bechler's death two years ago in spring training still reverberate through the organization.

"I thought I was fine yesterday," Baldwin said, "but based on what happened here a couple years ago with the young kid, they want to make sure there isn't anything going on."

Baldwin, who also might have become dehydrated on the flight, watched Friday night's 7-3 win over the Boston Red Sox from his hospital bed.

"That was my first priority," he said.

Ponson update

Orioles union representative Jay Gibbons contacted the players association late Friday night and continues to wait for a response regarding pitcher Sidney Ponson, whose contract was terminated by the Orioles last week.

The association will file a grievance on Ponson's behalf, as the Orioles attempt to free themselves of the $10 million that remains on his three-year deal. They placed Ponson on unconditional release waivers Thursday, citing that he violated terms of his Uniform Players Contract, including three arrests since December.

"I haven't heard anything back, but that's probably because it's the weekend," Gibbons said. "[A grievance] hasn't been formally filed, obviously, but it's inevitable. Right now it's really out of my hands."

Gibbons said he'll probably have a statement for the media later this week. Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor relations and human resources for the commissioner's office, also could issue a statement.

Penn back in Bowie

Pitcher Hayden Penn has returned to Double-A Bowie, where he could pitch in the Eastern League playoffs if the Baysox qualify. A decision is pending on whether he rejoins the Orioles later this month, either in a relief role or as a spot starter.

Penn went five-plus innings Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays and improved his record to 3-2.

"The organization will decide whether they want to bring him back up, maybe to pitch out of the bullpen or he'll get a spot start later in the season," Perlozzo said.

Perlozzo wants to take a longer look at John Maine and get a clearer read on whether the right-hander could battle for a rotation spot next spring. Maine won his first road game Friday night, allowing two earned runs and two hits in five innings.

"I would like to think John Maine could compete for a spot," Perlozzo said. "He'll have to pitch more than five innings, but he's kept the ball down for me. He's pitched against some good teams. And his poise has been a lot better than I expected.

"He needs a little better breaking ball. He needs to be more consistent with that, his changeup, but he's shown that his command of his fastball is a little better than expected. And if you can command your fastball, you can get by until your other stuff gets better."

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