Palmeiro stays away even with O's visiting Texas

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

First baseman continues rehab at home nearby

Miller ponders '06 plans

Notebook

September 13, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Texas - Reporters covering the Texas Rangers trickled into the visiting clubhouse at Ameriquest Field yesterday, hoping for a reunion with Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, wanting a piece of the intrigue attached to his first return since serving a 10-game suspension for failing his steroid test.

But they won't get it.

After a phone conversation with interim manager Sam Perlozzo, Palmeiro apparently has decided to remain at his Colleyville home while rehabilitating his sore right knee.

"He's doing OK," Perlozzo said. "He's still shooting to come back for us at the end. I told him there really wasn't a big need to show up here. He'll just continue doing what he's doing. I'm sure he's going to touch base with some of the guys. He's still looking forward to coming back.

"He asked me if I thought it was necessary to come here and I told him I didn't think so. Not that there would be a problem or anything, but mentally, I wanted him to use that time for himself, and physically to continue what he was doing."

Palmeiro hasn't played since Aug. 30 in Toronto, when he wore earplugs to muffle the hostile crowd noise. He accompanied the team to Boston but returned to Baltimore the next day to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test on his knee.

Though it didn't show any serious damage, he's bothered by a mild strain and an arthritic condition that's causing him pain when he attempts to run.

"He's getting ready to come back," Perlozzo said. "I'm not sure when yet, but it can't be any later than the last homestand or there wouldn't be any reason to come back. But he wants to play again.

"He doesn't want to go out like this. He wants to come back and be with the team. He probably knows he's not going to play a lot, but he wants to finish up with us."

Perlozzo also wants to check on right fielder Sammy Sosa, who's rehabbing an injured toe in Miami.

"That's another thing on our to-do list," Perlozzo said. "We'll do that before we leave here in case he's ready to show up."

Miller unsure about 2006

Pitching coach Ray Miller remains noncommittal about returning to the club in 2006.

Miller will undergo surgery after the season, a procedure that he's keeping private. He'll say only that it's "serious" and that he can't make any decisions about his professional future until it's completed.

He's also waiting to find out whether Perlozzo returns and if any changes are made in the front office. Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan won't be under contract after October.

"It would depend on who the manager is, and if they even want me," Miller said. "I don't even know who the GM is going to be."

Freire quick hit with O's

Whoever's in charge this winter will have to decide whether to re-sign first baseman Alejandro Freire, who is hitting .293 in 16 games.

The Orioles signed Freire as a minor league free agent before spring training and assigned him to Triple-A Ottawa, where he batted .299 with 19 homers. He made his major league debut Aug. 9.

Freire, 31, has played professionally for 13 seasons and spent last year in the Mexican League.

He's hit safely in 10 of 16 games with the Orioles.

"I have no idea what's going to happen," he said. "I'd love to come back here. They gave me a chance to make the team."

Freire, a right-handed hitter who plays about half his games in the outfield in the Venezuelan Winter League, is batting .400 against right-handers and .231 against left-handers. His only home run came off Boston left-hander Lenny DiNardo at Fenway Park.

"I've always been an everyday player, but I'm adjusting," said Freire, who sat out last night. "I keep working in the cage and working with the hitting coach, staying ready late in the game to pinch hit. Whatever chance I can get, I'll take advantage."

The Orioles optioned Freire to Double-A Bowie on Aug. 24 and recalled him four days later when Sosa went on the disabled list.

"I think he's done a good job for us," Perlozzo said. "He's not a youngster but he's a really good guy, a good teammate. He swings the bat. He's not afraid. He's actually hitting right-handers. I would think he'd be a guy you'd keep in your organization, with an outside shot at making your club. Certainly somebody who has some value for you."

Sosa faces suit in Fla.

Sosa is being sued by a law firm that contends he owes more than $22,000 for work in resolving tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service.

The lawsuit, filed this month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, claims Sosa failed to pay the Boca Raton firm Tescher, Gutter, Chaves, Josepher, Rubin, Ruffin and Forman. The firm represented Sosa and his charitable foundation in two tax cases that were resolved in Sosa's favor.

Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, did not immediately return a call.

According to the lawsuit, Sosa and his agent paid bills from April 2001 through last October but did not make any further payments as required once the tax cases were settled in U.S. Tax Court in December.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Texas Rangers

Site/Time: Arlington, Texas/8:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet1090 AM

Starters: Orioles' John Maine (2-1, 3.38) vs. Rangers' R.A. Dickey (0-1, 8.10)

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