Gibbons open to first, not DH


Markakis' performance in right field could force position switch in 2007


It's not an issue now because Jay Gibbons' balky right knee has left him unable to play the outfield. But some time this offseason, the Orioles are going to have to decide what position Gibbons is going to play in 2007.

Nick Markakis moved from left to right field when Gibbons went down with an injury, strengthening the Orioles' outfield defense. At this point, club officials are unlikely to move him. That leaves Gibbons' status uncertain heading into next year.

Gibbons said that he would play first base, a position he has played sparingly as an Oriole, but he isn't thrilled with the idea of being the team's everyday designated hitter.

"I haven't thought about being a DH this early in my career, no," Gibbons, 29, said. "I really don't want to do that. I know first base could be open next year and I am willing to compete for a job there. And I haven't ruled out the outfield yet, either. I am obviously a realist and I know how well the kid is playing.

"I am a big fan of him. He's just a good player. There is no doubt about it. But with that being said, they knew what they were getting by signing me. The outfield is what I've always liked."

Gibbons said that he hasn't been approached by the Orioles about next season, but he would need to get in some work if he were to play first base. He was expected to be the Orioles' Opening Day first baseman last year but wound up starting only 19 games there.

The Orioles are hoping to add both a first baseman and a corner outfielder this offseason. The results of their pursuit will probably determine where Gibbons plays next season.

"Eventually something has to give, but I want to win," he said. "I want to put the best players out there. If [Markakis is] the best player for the job out there, so be it. But I also want to play and as of right now, I don't want to DH. It's a tough job and it's usually for guys who are really patient hitters, and you know me."

Perlozzo has open door

Manager Sam Perlozzo felt no need to speak with Javy Lopez about his role in the days leading to Monday's trade deadline, but said that his door is always open to players who have questions or problems.

Lopez called communication in the organization "very, very poor" on Monday and said the club should waive him if he's going to play sporadically.

"What it shows is that Javy wants to play," Perlozzo said. "He just wants to play. It doesn't bother me. I don't think Javy's ever had a malicious bone in his body. At the same time, one of the first things I ever tell the team and tell them on umpteen occasions is that if you have a problem or concern, you can always walk in here."

Lopez started at catcher last night with Rodrigo Lopez on the mound.

Yet another reliever

Winston Abreu first took the mound as a professional in 1994. He put on a major league uniform for the first time yesterday.

The Orioles purchased Abreu's contract from Triple-A Ottawa after optioning Eddy Rodriguez to the minors.

"I'm real happy," Abreu said. "I got like 11 years playing in the minor leagues. I'm happy."

Abreu was 8-4 with a 2.98 ERA for Ottawa. He had spent most of his career in the Atlanta Braves organization before the Orioles signed him as a free agent last offseason.

Rodriguez gave up five runs in two innings Monday to raise his ERA to 7.20. The Orioles continue to scramble to fill the back of their bullpen. Abreu is the 17th reliever to be on the roster this season. His stay could be short-lived with LaTroy Hawkins expected to return from bereavement leave on Friday.

Around the horn

Perlozzo still hasn't decided who will start Friday against the New York Yankees but said he's leaning toward using Bruce Chen. ... The Orioles will hold blood drives at two locations Saturday and will hand out Brooks Robinson bobblehead dolls to all those who participate. The drives will be held between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Iron Workers Local Union Hall No. 16 in Dundalk, and between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Maryland Athletic Club in Timonium. Robinson will sign autographs at the Dundalk location between 11 a.m. and noon. Those who give blood will also receive two tickets each to the Orioles' Aug. 27 game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.