Club could add another pitcher to tired bullpen

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Minor leaguer Hoey is one option

foul tip injures catcher Hernandez

Notebook

June 07, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun Reporter

SEATTLE -- A night after watching his relievers blow a late-inning lead for the third straight day, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo intimated that changes could be made before the nine-game homestand starts tomorrow.

"I talked a little bit to [executive vice president Mike Flanagan] yesterday," Perlozzo said. "He's aware of the problem. We're looking at some options right now. We're hoping by [tomorrow] that we'll have something in place that's a little bit better. But it's certainly being looked at to try to get the club a little bit healthier."

Before yesterday's 9-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners, in which the beleaguered bullpen was mostly spared thanks to starter Daniel Cabrera going eight innings, Perlozzo lamented his diminishing relief options in front of closer Chris Ray. Setup men John Parrish and Danys Baez are struggling. Perlozzo has to pick his spots with Scott Williamson and Todd Williams, who both are experiencing arm soreness.

That leaves Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker, who Perlozzo acknowledged are overworked. Bradford entered yesterday tied for the major league lead with 32 appearances, and Walker was tied for fifth in the American League with 29 appearances.

"We extended Walker past what he should go," Perlozzo said. "We extended Bradford. Those two guys were originally in to get us through the seventh. Baez was handling the eighth and Ray was handling the ninth. Now we've asked those guys to go an inning apiece. We need to get another guy going so we can get back to normal."

Perlozzo acknowledged that the Orioles have options in the minors, including right-hander Jim Hoey, who hasn't given up a run in 21 1/3 innings in Double-A and Triple-A this season.

Meanwhile, Baez, who allowed a single and two straight walks in the Mariners' four-run seventh Tuesday, said he has detected a mechanical flaw in his delivery that may explain some of his troubles.

Baez has allowed runs in seven of his past 10 outings. Parrish has allowed runs in three of his past four.

Hernandez to be examined further

In the ninth inning yesterday, Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez was hit in the groin by a foul tip by Ben Broussard and was taken for X-rays after the game.

Hernandez and head trainer Richie Bancells did not accompany the team on the charter flight back to Baltimore, and Hernandez was scheduled to be evaluated further, according to a team official.

Tejada takes shot at DH

Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada embraced the designated hitter role for yesterday's game, but he made it clear it's not something he wants to do very often.

Tejada, who has played in 1,140 consecutive games, the longest active streak and the fifth longest all time, made 12 starts at DH last season, but yesterday marked his first start there this season. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs.

"I think being the DH freshens my legs and at the same time gives the other guys a chance to play," Tejada said. "I think it is good for me right now. It's not something I really like that much, but I got to do what the manager decides and he decided that I would be the DH."

In the past couple of seasons, the Orioles have encouraged Tejada to DH occasionally to give him a day mostly off his feet. Perlozzo traditionally leaves it up to his shortstop to decide whether he wants to DH or not, and Tejada gave it the OK on Tuesday night.

"For me, it's hard," he said. "Right now, I don't want to be [off] the field. We're in a losing streak right now and I like to be out on the field. I think I can help my team with my energy. It's a little hard for me to do that as DH."

Tejada said he has no plans to take a day off.

"I don't feel like I could sit [on] the bench, no matter how tired I am, no matter how I feel." Tejada said. "One day, if the manager decides to sit me on the bench for a couple of innings, I will. But I don't know if I could help my team from the bench."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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