Tejada increases volume as leader


New York -- It happened before the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday night, as the Orioles were trying to mount a comeback against the Cleveland Indians. His team down by four runs, manager Sam Perlozzo heard a voice that used to be a mainstay at such times.

It belonged to Miguel Tejada, the Orioles shortstop who has kept a low profile this season after his tumultuous 2005 campaign, topped by his offseason trade request. However, Perlozzo and several of Tejada's teammates have noticed the All-Star shortstop returning to his old form, both in the dugout and the clubhouse.

"He's been very, very loud," outfielder Jay Gibbons said, "He used to be loud, like every second. He's kind of had that energy going and we've had a couple of good comebacks. I don't know if it is a coincidence or not."

Said Perlozzo: "Maybe, he's starting to feel like he's back to where he was. I am sure it's a little difficult to go through what he went through and to feel like you're not doing as much as you thought you should do. I feel like he's doing a lot myself. When you win, things happen. This is what he does. It's got to start somewhere and to have him back as a leader for us, that's a good sign."

Tejada said that he has made a concerted effort recently to be more vocal. "I've been doing it," he said, not giving a reason. "I just said in my mind that I am going to keep talking the way I always talk."

Tejada said that he's happy with how the Orioles have played this season and he's also pleased about his quick start. Tejada is hitting .384 with three home runs and 15 RBIs despite being hampered by a sore right knee that he ices before and after every game. He's been playing with a noticeable limp.

"My knee is a little bit hurt, but I am OK. I am going to keep playing," Tejada said. Asked if he'd consider requesting a day off, breaking his consecutive-games streak, which reached 936 Friday night, Tejada shrugged and said, "No, I still have one good leg."

Ponson grievance sits

The grievance hearing involving the Orioles and former pitcher Sidney Ponson is on hold indefinitely. "The case hasn't been set for hearing yet," said Frank Coonelly, general counsel, labor, for Major League Baseball. "The parties are still in the process of exchanging documents. Other cases have been scheduled before it."

The original hearing was scheduled for March 30, but was postponed because the Orioles and MLB have not received certain medical documents from Ponson's side, an industry source said.

Once all documents are distributed, an arbiter could hear the case before season's end. Ponson is trying to recover the $11 million left in his contract when the Orioles voided it Sept. 1 after his third arrest in nine months.

Ponson's agent, Barry Praver, and Orioles officials declined to comment on the matter.

Back in the Bronx

Making his first trip to Yankee Stadium as a player, rookie Nick Markakis hardly seemed overwhelmed before the series opener. He said he planned on making his way over to Monument Park when he got a chance, and said he wasn't worried about the things the Yankees' notoriously vocal fans would say to him in the outfield.

"I grew up in Long Island so I grew up around Yankees fans," said Markakis, back in left field after sitting two games. "As a kid growing up, most kids dreamed of playing in Yankees Stadium. But we have a job to do. It's just another game and we have to take care of business."

Around the horn

Reliever Tim Byrdak's surgery Friday to repair the bone chips in his left elbow was successful. ... Yankees longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard returned for Friday night's game after missing New York's first series after throwing out his hip. He hadn't missed a Yankees home opener since 1950.


Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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