Benson is likely to move up start


Short Seattle outing would let him fill Cabrera void

Hernandez is DH


SEATTLE -- Starter Kris Benson likely won't have too long to dwell on his disappointing outing Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners. Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said yesterday that he likely will bring back Benson on three days' rest for Sunday's series finale against the Los Angeles Angels.

In the Orioles' 7-4 loss on Wednesday, Benson gave up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and two walks. He threw 60 pitches and lasted just two innings, matching the second-shortest outing of his career.

"We're kind of leaning toward Benson right now, unless he said that he didn't think he'd be ready to go," Perlozzo said. "Then, we'd probably flip it back."

John Halama, who won in an emergency start Tuesday after Hayden Penn's appendectomy, originally was expected to get the start Sunday over rookie Adam Loewen. But Benson's short outing gives Perlozzo the luxury of bringing the right-hander back a game sooner.

The Orioles also have an off day Monday, meaning yesterday's starter, Rodrigo Lopez, would go on his normal four days' rest Tuesday, the series opener at Camden Yards vs. the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Orioles won't need a fifth starter until June 3 when they play the New York Yankees. Perlozzo said there is an outside possibility that Daniel Cabrera (shoulder) might be ready to come off the 15-day disabled list by then.

Perlozzo said that he wasn't sure at this point what the scenario means for Loewen, one of the Orioles' top prospects who is unlikely to spend extended time in the bullpen rather than getting starts in the minor leagues.

"We'll have to see," Perlozzo said. " ... No matter what, it's a good experience for him to be here. Hopefully, we can get him in a couple of games and get him on track. He might be the guy."

Hernandez at DH

Wanting to keep both Javy Lopez's and Ramon Hernandez's bats in the lineup while also giving Hernandez a day off from catching, Perlozzo used Hernandez as the designated hitter yesterday. Lopez was the starting catcher for the second time in five games and Hernandez was the DH for the first time in his career.

"When I am in the lineup, no matter where, I am happy," said Hernandez, who has started 42 of the Orioles' 48 games behind the plate. "It will definitely give me a rest with my legs."

Hernandez entered yesterday leading American League catchers in home runs (eight) and RBIs (36), was second in hits (49) and third in batting average (.312). Still, he said it's too early to start talking about the possibility of making the All-Star team.

"Offensively, I am pretty happy," he said. "I am not happy with the way we are playing."

Players behind Perlozzo

After Perlozzo criticized his team's effort in a 20-minute clubhouse meeting after the 7-4 loss, several players publicly supported the manager, who was irritated after a series of defensive mishaps Wednesday.

"That is the manager's decision," said second baseman Brian Roberts. "We're fine in here. ... It's not like we're 20 games out. I certainly think we all know we need to play better."

Said Kevin Millar: "He's our manager. We have to do the things that he asks us to do. We all respect Sam. He does a great job and has given us freedom, but he expects us to play the game hard and play the game right. We respect his message."

Perlozzo called the meeting a "necessary thing."

"As long as we put the effort out, I am fine," said the Orioles manager. "If the other team beats us because we try hard, that's the way it was supposed to be. I just wanted them to be aware of what I was seeing and I didn't want to see that anymore."

Around the horn

Doug DeCinces, who replaced a Baltimore legend, and Chris Hoiles, who spent his entire nine-year career with the Orioles and caught more games in club history than all but one person, have been elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame. DeCinces, who succeeded Brooks Robinson at third base, and Hoiles, the club's catcher from 1990 through 1998, will be formally inducted in pre-game ceremonies on Aug. 26, before the 4:35 p.m. game against Tampa Bay. ... Roberts said that he felt some soreness after his first game back from the disabled list. ... Former President Jimmy Carter attended yesterday's game.

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