Gibbons makes return as DH

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Injury likely to keep him from field

Britton relishes chance to set up

Notebook

July 30, 2006|By KATIE CARRERA | KATIE CARRERA,SUN REPORTER

Jay Gibbons said he was ready to return to the Orioles lineup yesterday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. Gibbons was the team's designated hitter, a position he said he would remain at for the foreseeable future.

"I know it's going to be at DH for a while," Gibbons said. "I'm definitely not ready to play the field. I can swing, run a little bit but we're going to concentrate on the hitting right now."

Gibbons has been out with a sprained knee since June 13. In five games while on rehabilitation assignment, he went 0-for-8 at Single-A Frederick and 4-for-10 at Double-A Bowie. He said his knee will probably continue to bother him a little bit but that offseason surgery is "not an option."

"I've had more than one opinion and nobody wants to touch it," he said. "They tell me there's 10 different ways to do the surgery, which is a horrible sign, and that it will eventually heal on its own. So I'll take that. I don't want surgery."

Gibbons had a .274 average with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 48 games before being placed on the disabled list.

With Gibbons' return, backup catcher Javy Lopez is likely to see less playing time because his dominant role has been as the DH. Manager Sam Perlozzo said he may still use Lopez, who is batting .267, as an occasional DH depending on Gibbons' progress.

"We'll see what happens," Perlozzo said. "Obviously if Gibby's going to be mostly DHing we'll have to get Javy in with an occasional DH and catching. I don't know that Gibby's not going to need some time off. We'll see how he reacts when he plays a couple games in a row."

The Orioles have designated outfielder Luis Terrero for assignment to make room for Gibbons, who went 1-for-4 yesterday.

Britton in setup role

With relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Todd Williams having been used in consecutive games, Perlozzo opted to use right-hander Chris Britton in the setup role Friday night against the White Sox.

Britton, who has a 2.70 ERA, threw a perfect eighth inning to maintain the Orioles' 4-2 lead.

"The deeper he went it brought us closer to the possibility to them pinch hitting the lefty and we had [Kurt] Birkins and Todd to back him up," Perlozzo said. "He was kind of the freshest, we're down to who is freshest right now."

The role is not new for the 23-year-old who pitched in that slot in the minor leagues, and Britton said he welcomes the greater responsibility.

"I enjoy the pressure," he said. "I think everybody likes the chance to prove they can deal with it." katherine.carrera@baltsun.com

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