Crowley, Bishop are interviewed


Coaches might not be last Orioles questioned in drug investigation


Investigators from former Sen. George Mitchell's probe into performance-enhancing drug use in baseball interviewed Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley and strength and conditioning coach Tim Bishop yesterday

Bishop and Crowley declined to comment on the interviews, conducted at the downtown law offices of Orioles owner Peter Angelos. Sources with knowledge of the investigation said more Orioles officials could be interviewed before it concludes.

Baseball officials have asked all those questioned not to share details of the sessions. John Clarke, a spokesman for the Mitchell investigation, said he could not comment either. Investigators are expected to interview officials from all 30 major league clubs.

They questioned executive vice president Mike Flanagan, vice president Jim Duquette, manager Sam Perlozzo, pitching coach Leo Mazzone and minor league director David Stockstill on June 21-22.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation said yesterday's interviews, which lasted a couple of hours, were a continuation of those that took place in June and should not be seen as a sign that the Orioles are being targeted. Investigators wanted to interview Bishop and Crowley last month, but schedule conflicts prevented it, sources said.

Orioles general counsel Russell Smouse sat in on the interviews.

The Orioles have answered questions about the investigation with a blanket statement from Flanagan: "The Orioles have been diligent in educating our players at both major league and minor league levels on not using steroids and other performance-enhancing substances. We will vigorously continue our efforts in this regard."

Cabrera struggles for Ottawa

Daniel Cabrera showed the same wildness that hampered him with the Orioles in his first start since being optioned to Triple-A Ottawa.

Cabrera allowed four runs, seven hits and three walks and struck out four in 6 2/3 innings against the Richmond Braves last night. He threw 113 pitches, 70 of them for strikes, and also hit a batter and had a wild pitch in a 4-2 loss.

The Orioles optioned Cabrera in hopes that he would regain his confidence and command with a few dominant outings for Ottawa.

Perlozzo has said repeatedly that the team needs Cabrera and that he would like to see the right-hander force his way back to the Orioles quickly. Cabrera was 4-7 with a 5.25 ERA and had walked 75 batters in 85 2/3 innings when he was sent down.

He was despondent when told that he was being sent down Friday. But he said he was in a better state of mind when he stopped by Camden Yards to pick up his belongings Sunday.

Byrdak passes first test

Relief pitcher Tim Byrdak said his elbow felt sound Monday after his first rehabilitation outing since having surgery to remove bone chips from his left elbow.

Byrdak allowed two hits and a run and struck out three in one inning.

"It felt good," said Byrdak, who has been on the disabled list since April. "It was the first time in the whole year I could get extension on my fastball."

Byrdak plans to throw a bullpen session in Baltimore and then report to Double-A Bowie for a possible appearance tomorrow.

Perlozzo said he's unsure how long Byrdak's rehabilitation will last or if the left-hander will join the Orioles when he's physically sound.

Around the horn

Designated hitter Javy Lopez was out of the Orioles' lineup again last night with a sore lower back. Lopez said it's not a serious condition and that he should be ready to go in a day or two. ... Mark Ellis' home run was the 33rd of his career, breaking a tie with Dave Collins for the most home runs by a major leaguer born in South Dakota. ... The Orioles, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs are the only major league teams that haven't won four in a row this season.

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