Shuffle gives Gibbons a seat

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Perlozzo working to find at-bats for O's abundance of outfielders

April 07, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

In his latest shuffling to find at-bats for his many outfielders, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo held Jay Gibbons out of the starting lineup yesterday, despite the outfielder going 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs a night earlier.

Perlozzo said he made the move because Gibbons was 1-for-16 in his career against Tampa Bay Devil Rays left-handed starter Mark Hendrickson and he wanted to get Jeff Conine back into the lineup.

"The numbers show that he's not had success, but honestly, I am trying to get some other guys in there, too," Perlozzo said. "But I would not like to do that with Jay Gibbons if I can prevent it. I also think Jay is a different hitter now. ... Jay is our RBI guy and you're not going to see him out of the lineup too many times unless he can't go."

Gibbons is still experiencing some minor discomfort in his upper back, but it hasn't prevented him from going 4-for-8 with three doubles, a homer and five RBIs.

"He told me Opening Day that he was going to give me [last night] off," Gibbons said. "We have a lot of games in a row and we have a lot of outfielders. I told him, `I know you are in a bind and I know you have to get guys in the lineup.' If he thinks we're better with different lineups, than I am totally for it. But I want to play."

Instead, Conine started in left field, Luis Matos was in center after Corey Patterson got the start on Wednesday, and rookie Nick Markakis was in right after starting in left a night earlier. David Newhan is the only Orioles outfielder who hasn't gotten a start.

"They'll just have to bear with me for the first homestand and we'll see how things shake out a little bit," Perlozzo said. "So far, everyone's been contributing."

In his first start as an Oriole on Wednesday, Patterson, who has been criticized in the past for his plate discipline, was 0-for-4 and swung at the first pitch in all five of his at-bats.

" We'd like to see him swing the bat a little better than he has," Perlozzo said. "I'm sure he knows that."

Williams on way back

Orioles reliever Todd Williams, who was sidelined the entire exhibition season because of right shoulder and right calf injuries, threw a side session from off the mound at the club's minor league complex in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday.

Perlozzo got positive reports from the session, which consisted of 30 pitches, and said that Williams could rejoin the Orioles before the end of the month.

"He's going to need to get a couple of more sides, maybe some batting practice and he might even be a candidate for a rehab stint," Perlozzo said. "I'd rather not push it until we absolutely need him. He can be ready before the end of the month ... maybe sooner than that."

Perlozzo, who may be inclined to go with a seven-man bullpen when Williams returns, said that one outing is not enough to gain concern about relievers Eric DuBose and Jim Brower, who combined to give up three earned runs and four hits over three innings Wednesday night.

"From what I've seen, we need to get a little better," the manager said. "I am positive that they are better than what we've seen."

Around the horn

Second baseman Brian Roberts, who had offseason elbow surgery, said that he felt better than expected after playing in back-to-back games. ... The Orioles released left-handed reliever Vic Darensbourg. ... Benji and Joel Madden, members of the music group Good Charlotte and Maryland natives, visited the Orioles' clubhouse and threw out the first pitch before last night's game. ... The Orioles will honor the NCAA champion Maryland women's basketball team before tonight's game, with coach Brenda Frese scheduled to throw out the first pitch.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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