Benched Matos meets Perlozzo

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Injuries, Patterson take big cut out of playing time

Gibbons close

June 01, 2006|By DAN CONNOLLY AND JEFF ZREBIEC | DAN CONNOLLY AND JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTERS

Disappointed with his lack of playing time, Orioles outfielder Luis Matos met with Sam Perlozzo on Tuesday to discuss his role on the team.

Matos, the club's Opening Day center fielder, has started just four times in the past 11 games and just nine times in 23 games since coming off the disabled list May 5. He's hitting .169 on the season in 65 at-bats and .194 since rehabbing his inflamed right shoulder.

"When you play and then you don't see your name in the lineup, it's hard," Matos said. "I am just getting ready and trying to be patient. When they give me a chance, I am going to do the best I can. That's the only thing I can do. That's the only thing I have in my head."

Matos' struggles have coincided with the resurgence of Corey Patterson, who is hitting .317 (39-for-123) in his past 33 games. The two came into the season fighting for the starting center-field job.

"I had told [Matos] initially at the beginning of the season, just hang in there with me and let things shake out and be ready to play," Perlozzo said. "Then he got hurt and when he came back up, he wasn't as sharp. Basically, you just try to keep biding a little time with him and make sure he's still sharp."

Matos, who scored the winning run last night, said the brief meeting was held so he could "know what's going on, what's going to happen. I am not that old. I am 27. I have a long career in front of me, so I don't get frustrated."

Gibbons on mend

The Orioles are targeting tomorrow for right fielder Jay Gibbons' return to the lineup. Gibbons hasn't played since running into the foul railing in right field while trying to cut off Vladimir Guerrero's eventual inside-the-park home run Friday at Angel Stadium.

He suffered a strained right knee, a left hip flexor and a strained trapezius in the fall, but he called all three injuries "nagging things."

"My hip is a little sore, my knee is a little sore, but I am good enough to play, I think," said Gibbons, who took batting practice yesterday and likely will be available to pinch hit tonight, but won't start against Tampa Bay left-hander Scott Kazmir. "I think it's going to still be a little sore when I come back, but everybody has their issues."

All-Star shutout

The first results of the 2006 American League All-Star balloting were released, and only two Orioles appear among the leaders at any position.

Miguel Tejada has 370,078 votes, second only to overall top vote-getter Derek Jeter (537,218) at shortstop. Brian Roberts (130,702) is fourth among second basemen, trailing Jeter's New York Yankees teammate Robinson Cano (289,394), Boston's Mark Loretta and Chicago's Tadahito Iguchi. Only the top five (top 15 for outfielders) are listed.

Eight of the nine leading All-Stars are either Yankees or Red Sox, with Los Angeles' Guerrero (second in outfield) the only exception.

"Hey, when you've got 50,000 people in your home ballpark every night, you are going to get a bunch of votes," Perlozzo said. "That's the way it is."

Cabrera looking good

Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera, making a rehab start for Double-A Bowie against Erie, pitched four no-hit innings and struck out seven yesterday, allowing one unearned run. He walked one, made two wild pitches, hit a batter and left the game with the Baysox trailing 1-0.

Around the horn

The Orioles haven't had a blown save by their closer since B.J. Ryan blew one on July 19, 2005. Current closer Chris Ray has saved 14 straight ... The Orioles have won 142 of their past 143 games when leading after eight innings, a streak that dates to June 6, 2004 ... Perlozzo said John Halama is expected to get Saturday's start against the Yankees ... Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan presented Tejada with his 2005 AL Silver Slugger Award before yesterday's game.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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