Stern is player in J. Lopez deal

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Pawtucket outfielder impressive in World games

O's sign Widger

Notebook

August 05, 2006|By CHILDS WALKER | CHILDS WALKER,SUN REPORTER

Catcher Javy Lopez officially departed the Orioles for the Boston Red Sox yesterday in exchange for a player to be named.

The mystery player is outfielder Adam Stern, according to industry sources. But the Orioles won't find out if Stern clears waivers until next week. If he does, he'll come to the Orioles immediately. If not, he won't arrive until after the season.

Stern started the season in Boston but was sent down after hitting .150 in 20 at-bats. He was batting .266 with eight homers and 21 steals for Triple-A Pawtucket. He stood out offensively and defensively in the World Baseball Classic as a member of the Canadian team.

The Orioles also will send about half the remaining $2.74 million on Lopez's contract for this season. They signed veteran Chris Widger to be their backup catcher for the rest of the season.

Widger was released by the Chicago White Sox earlier in the week. He's a .239 career hitter who was batting .184 for the White Sox this year.

"We think it was a good baseball trade," Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan said. "Javy was going to have diminished playing time and diminished at-bats with the situation the way it was with [Jay] Gibbons coming back."

The Red Sox expressed interest in Lopez as soon they found out starting catcher Jason Varitek needed knee surgery and would be out at least a month.

"It was good for both clubs," Flanagan said.

Flanagan said Lopez's comments criticizing the club on Monday did not hasten the catcher's departure. He reiterated that the Orioles were willing to trade Lopez before the deadline but received no offers.

Pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, who formed a regular battery with Lopez, spoke with the catcher yesterday.

"He sounds pretty happy. I think it's good for the Orioles and good for him and good for the Red Sox," Rodrigo Lopez said.

Widger was pleased to join the Orioles because he lives in Pennsville, N.J., just on the other side of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

"It's not a good feeling when you're told a team doesn't want you anymore," he said of his release. "But at the same time, it's part of baseball. ... Luckily for me, there was a situation here where I'm basically home."

Benson goes on DL

The Orioles put Kris Benson on the disabled list yesterday with tendinitis in his right elbow, but the starter says he might be ready to pitch in Boston next weekend.

The move was retroactive to July 26, so Benson is eligible to return on Thursday. He'll begin throwing today.

Benson received cortisone and novocaine injections in a small area of scar tissue on Wednesday. "Everything felt 10 times better," he said.

"I think we finally found the root of the problem, and I'm pretty happy that it's nothing structural."

Tatis starts ... in right

Wanting an extra right-handed bat in the lineup, manager Sam Perlozzo started Fernando Tatis in right field against Yankees starter Randy Johnson. Tatis hadn't played the outfield in the majors, appearing in 636 games at third base before this season.

Around the horn

Gibbons took grounders at first base during batting practice. ... Perlozzo indicated that Daniel Cabrera could start Tuesday in Toronto after throwing six shutout innings for Triple-A Ottawa on Thursday. ... Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of Lee Mazzilli being fired as Orioles manager. ... Sidney Ponson returned to Camden Yards for the first time since he and the Orioles parted ways last August. He declined to be interviewed by a Baltimore reporter.

childs.walker@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Roch Kubatko contributed to this story.

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