Fahey makes most of switch

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Dropped from 2nd to 8th in order, he ends Halladay's perfect-game bid

Notebook

August 21, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO | ROCH KUBATKO,SUN REPORTER

His average down significantly since the All-Star break, Brandon Fahey also has sunk in the Orioles' batting order, going from second to eighth.

Yesterday, it turned out to be a good spot for him, and the team.

Fahey singled with one out in the sixth inning to end Toronto starter Roy Halladay's bid for a perfect game. Halladay had retired all 16 batters he faced before Fahey's ground ball scooted into center field.

"It's great to see a guy like Fahey break up the no-hitter," shortstop Miguel Tejada said.

Fahey, who has been replaced as the No. 2 hitter by Nick Markakis, advanced on a passed ball and later scored on a fielder's choice.

"Every time I'm up there, you're trying to get on any way you can. It wasn't any different," Fahey said. "If you treat at-bats like that, one more important than the others, I don't think you'll be very consistent."

Asked what pitch he hit, Fahey said, "Fastball. ... I think. Against him, you just see it and react to it. Everything he has moves."

Fahey had gone hitless in his previous two games with an at-bat and was hitting .220 in the second half of the season. He went 1-for-3 yesterday.

With the Orioles looking to add more power in left field next season, Fahey most likely will serve in a utility role if he makes the club out of spring training.

Hurting Gibbons plays

Manager Sam Perlozzo didn't need to feel the fastball to know how much it hurt Jay Gibbons. Seeing his muscular designated hitter hunched over and grimacing provided enough of a clue.

Gibbons remained in the lineup yesterday and went 1-for-3, but his right elbow was wrapped after being hit by Dustin McGowan's pitch during Saturday's game.

"Gibby's a pretty tough kid," Perlozzo said. "His initial reaction scared me a little bit."

Gibbons ran the bases before leaving the game, and he woke up yesterday morning with a bad bruise and some swelling.

"I couldn't swing after that," he said. "I had a dead hand. It was in the funny bone area and I couldn't grip a bat, but I could run the bases. I wanted to stay on the field as much as I can."

After making two trips to the disabled list with a strained left groin, hip flexor and sprained right knee, Gibbons didn't need another injury to interrupt what remains of his season.

"I could have done without it," he said. " ... It's not a big deal. Everybody gets hit."

Decision due on Birkins

The Orioles must decide whether to activate left-hander Kurt Birkins from the disabled list this week after he makes another appearance on his injury rehabilitation assignment. But that's only part of the thought process.

The club also has to determine whether Birkins will return to the bullpen, which would necessitate a corresponding roster move, or is optioned to the minors until rosters expand Sept. 1.

"I'm not sure what we'll do with that," Perlozzo said.

Birkins has pitched an inning at Single-A Frederick and 1 2/3 innings at short-season Single-A Aberdeen, his latest appearance coming Saturday. He allowed two hits and struck out two for the IronBirds.

"It's a little hard to gauge my command because those guys swing at everything," said Birkins, who is 5-2 with a 4.94 ERA in 35 games with the Orioles.

"I felt good, just to be out there. I'm trying to make progress every time I go out there and work my way back up here. We're right on schedule."

Birkins will pitch for Aberdeen again tomorrow before the Orioles re-evaluate him.

Around the horn

Erik Bedard is 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA in five starts against Toronto this season. ... David Newhan started in right field for Double-A Bowie on Saturday on his injury rehab assignment and went 1-for-3 with an RBI. He played five innings, and the reports indicated he ran without restrictions. ... Hayden Penn's start at Triple-A Ottawa yesterday was wiped out because of rain. The Lynx will play a doubleheader today. ... The Blue Jays' Reed Johnson's 11 home runs are a career high.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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