This time, it's Mora's decision to take day off

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Third baseman says he's going through `tough time' at the plate

June 11, 2007|By Roch Kubatko and Sirage Yassin | Roch Kubatko and Sirage Yassin,SUN REPORTERS

Melvin Mora sat on one of the clubhouse sofas yesterday as the Orioles took batting practice. He glanced at the nearest television, which replayed a game involving the starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, right-hander Jason Hirsh. A pitcher that Mora chose not to face.

Mora confirmed that he asked for the day off, which manager Sam Perlozzo granted, after Mora went 0-for-4 on Saturday night.

Mora's average is down to .242. And he has no clue how to improve it.

"I'm [messed] up," Mora said. Asked in what way, he said, "Mentally."

"I was fine on the road trip," he added. "I get here and it's kind of ... "

Mora made a sound that indicated he's out of sorts, that he doesn't feel right.

"I need to find a way to feel comfortable at home plate," he said. "It's difficult right now. It's a tough time mentally."

Chris Gomez started at third base. With an open date on the schedule today, Mora will get an extended break before returning to the lineup tomorrow night.

"I don't know if his mind wasn't right," Perlozzo said.

"He didn't look good at the plate, probably wasn't thinking real well, probably needed a day off to clear his mind. That's what I'm assuming."

Mora wasn't in the lineup for a May 25 game at Camden Yards, but he didn't find out until earlier that day and complained to reporters about a lack of communication with Perlozzo, which led to a heated exchange near third base during batting practice.

There was no confusion yesterday.

Trying too hard

Sitting, Scott Williamson says, is not his posture of choice.

The Orioles' sparsely used right-handed reliever pitched for the first time in eight days in yesterday's 6-1 loss to the Rockies. He pitched a scoreless sixth inning before leaving with no outs in the seventh after walking Matt Holliday.

Williamson said Holliday would have been his last batter regardless of the outcome of the at-bat, but admitted he should have gotten the out knowing that John Parrish would be coming in behind him.

"For me, I fight harder when it's someone else's runs than when it's my own. And that's how every guy in the bullpen feels," he said.

Parrish went on to give up a three-run homer later in that inning to Ryan Spilborghs, and with the Orioles struggling to produce runs, there has been no room for error with regard to the bullpen.

Parrish was coming off a blown save against the Seattle Mariners on Monday and has given up runs in four of his past five outings. Perlozzo said Parrish's slider hasn't been the same since spring training and that it's partly what has caused him to struggle recently.

Perlozzo also said many of his pitchers have been trying to compensate for a missing offense.

"When your offense is not scoring a lot, sometimes you think you've got to make the best pitch, that you have to hold them down to zero," Perlozzo said.

Bynum gets a start

As part of his lineup shuffling, Perlozzo notified Freddie Bynum early yesterday that the utility man would be starting in center field. But Bynum didn't know where he'd be batting in the order until checking the lineup card posted outside the clubhouse.

"It just shocked me," he said. "I was like, `The two hole. Whoa.' I haven't hit in the two hole since last year."

Bynum, who went 0-for-4, started for only the fifth time this season, the fourth in center. His other starts there came during an April series in Tampa Bay while Corey Patterson was on the bereavement list.

"When he told me I was playing [yesterday], it was just like any other day," he said. "I'm just waiting for him to tell me."

Bynum said he prefers center field to the other two outfield positions, but he misplayed Todd Helton's fly ball in the fifth, breaking back on it before making a late charge. It fell for a single, and Colorado eventually scored twice to break a 1-1 tie.

"I just read his swing," Bynum said. "I thought he got it harder than he did. I didn't get a good read. It happens."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

sirage.yassin@baltsun.com

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