Elbow may put Benson on DL


Chen to fill rotation spot vs. Yanks

Red Sox, minus Varitek, eye J. Lopez


After a side throwing session Tuesday went poorly, Orioles starter Kris Benson may go on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis.

"It didn't go as good as he had hoped," manager Sam Perlozzo said of the session.

Benson took a cortisone shot before yesterday's game and his arm felt better afterward, Perlozzo said. The Orioles will evaluate him tomorrow after a day off today.

The Orioles had hoped Benson would be ready to start Sunday against the New York Yankees. But Rodrigo Lopez will pitch that day, and the Orioles might then have to call up another pitcher (probably Hayden Penn or Daniel Cabrera) to start early next week.

Bruce Chen will pitch tomorrow, holding the rotation spot vacated by Benson for a second straight cycle.

Club officials still do not believe Benson will be out long. If he goes on the disabled list, his 15-day stint would be retroactive to July 26, the day after he last pitched. That means he could return as soon as next Thursday.

Benson has received treatment for the elbow problem since May, but he was unable to extend his arm fully during his last start.

Last week, he visited Dr. Craig Morgan, an arm specialist who helped him in 2003. Benson said he's working on improving the rotation of his left hip and right elbow based on that session.

Red Sox inquire about J. Lopez

With catcher Jason Varitek expected to miss four to six weeks because of knee surgery, the Boston Red Sox have contacted the Orioles about disgruntled catcher/designated hitter Javy Lopez, an industry source said.

Lopez, who is hitting .265 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs, has been put on waivers by the Orioles, who are expecting to hear whether he has been claimed before the end of the week. If Lopez, 35, clears waivers, the Orioles could trade him.

Frustrated about his lack of playing time with Ramon Hernandez entrenched at catcher and Jay Gibbons getting most of the at-bats at designated hitter, Lopez said on Monday that he thinks it would make sense if the club put him on waivers so he could play somewhere else.

The Orioles tried to trade him before Monday's non-waiver deadline, but found no takers. Lopez has about $3 million remaining on a three-year, $22.5 million contract, which expires after this season. If a team claims him off waivers, it would be on the hook for the full amount.

Millar is sitting, too

Kevin Millar is another veteran who may see less time with Gibbons taking at-bats at designated hitter.

He has started only one of the past four games (he went 0-for-4 Tuesday).

Millar didn't have much to say when asked if he was frustrated yesterday. Asked if anyone has talked to him about his role, he replied, "Crickets," meaning he hadn't heard a thing. Millar is batting .243.

Lopez on Monday criticized the Orioles for poor communication. But Perlozzo seemed irked at the notion that he should talk to players who might see fewer at-bats because of Gibbons. "I don't know what the big deal is all of a sudden about running and talking to people," he said.

Perlozzo said he's back to the policy he espoused early in the season - the hottest bats will play. "Nobody's putting him on the shelf," he said of Millar.

Tyler extends streak

Ernie Tyler worked his 3,700th consecutive game as umpires attendant yesterday. He began his streak of regular-season home games at Memorial Stadium on Opening Day 1960.

childs.walker@baltsun.com jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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