Hernandez may end up placed on disabled list

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Injured catcher doubtful for part, perhaps all, of Yankees series

April 05, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN REPORTER

MINNEAPOLIS -- Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo acknowledged yesterday that it remains a possibility that injured catcher Ramon Hernandez could go on the disabled list.

The initial hope was that Hernandez, who has missed the first three games with a strained left oblique muscle, would be able to play in tomorrow's series opener in New York. However, the catcher has still yet to take batting practice, making him doubtful for at least part - if not all - of the Orioles' three-game series with the New York Yankees.

"I don't know yet," Perlozzo said when asked how long he foresees Hernandez being out. "I talked to the trainer and he thought he got over the hump a little bit today. I don't know exactly what it means, but we still have the off day and then Friday. Maybe, we just push him back a couple of more days.

"I think we'll play it by ear. We'll get all the input from the necessary people and if it looks like it's going to be realistically a longer time, then we might just want to go ahead and [put him on the disabled list]."

Hernandez said he is feeling a little better every day, but didn't rule out a trip to the disabled list.

"If I have to go to the disabled list, that's how it is," he said. "I'd prefer to go onto the disabled list and miss two weeks. I want to play. Don't get me wrong. I really want to play and I really feel bored when I've got to watch the games. ... At the same time, I've got to think about if I go and play like this. If I lie and say I feel better, but I don't, I might hurt it again worse. That could take one or two months, and that would really hurt the team. They don't deserve that."

Ripken joins TBS

Cal Ripken Jr. will be joining TBS as a studio analyst for the network's postseason television package, Ripken's spokesman confirmed yesterday.

TBS is making the announcement today, which is supposed to include the news that Ripken's fellow new Hall of Fame inductee, Tony Gwynn, will become a game analyst.

Ripken's first appearance for TBS will be on the All-Star Game selection show July 1. Then he will be in the studio along with host Ernie Johnson for pre- and post-game shows during coverage of the Division Series and National League Championship Series.

SI.com reported Gwynn will work alongside Chip Caray during the postseason game telecasts.

TBS has the rights to all Division Series games and one League Championship Series per season through 2013.

Reports of Ripken's joining TBS first surfaced in early October.

Millar sits

The Orioles lineup last night had Chris Gomez at first base and Aubrey Huff at designated hitter, meaning Kevin Millar was on the bench for the first time this season. Millar went just 4-for-45 this spring and entered last night 0-for-8 with two strikeouts in the regular season.

Perlozzo maintained that Millar wasn't benched because he is struggling, rather the Orioles manager wanted to get Gomez a start because he was the only position player who hadn't gotten in before last night.

"This is not a punishment by any stretch," Perlozzo said. "This is something to get [Gomez] in the ballgame. It's something that we wanted to get done the first two days. It just so happens that [Millar is] the one that hasn't been hitting as much."

It is expected that Millar will be the player to lose at-bats when outfielder Jay Payton returns from the disabled list, which could happen as early as Wednesday.

"I don't think about that stuff," Millar said. " I have ... to hit. It's the same thing every year, you've got to hit. Right now, I am not swinging the bat good. ... Right now, we are not going to panic. This is game No. 3 of a 162-game season. And like I said, I don't feel terrible at the plate, I just need a good result.

"I'll be fine. I've hit .290 in the big leagues for 10 years. I'll be fine. I'm not going to hit .100, I'm not going to hit zero. I'm not going to hit .500. But I feel good."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Ray Frager contributed to this article.

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