SEATTLE -- After taking ground balls for 20 minutes and then proceeding to the batting cage to work on his swing, injured Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada walked through the visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field and said to nobody in particular, "I've never felt so happy in my life."
A night after taking his first swings since going on the disabled list June 22 with a fracture in his left wrist, Tejada did more extensive work and pronounced himself pain-free and a little more than a week away from his return to the lineup.
Tejada, whose streak of 1,152 games was ended after he went on the DL two days after getting hit by Doug Brocail's fastball, stressed that Orioles officials will determine when he returns. But if he had his way and X-rays scheduled for Tuesday confirm that his wrist has healed, he would start taking batting practice early next week, go on a brief rehabilitation stint and then play July 28 against the New York Yankees.
"My target ... is when they say I'm ready to do everything, I'm going to take like three days of live [batting practice], then, I can play one game in the minor leagues and then I can play the second day against the Yankees," said Tejada, smiling broadly as he discussed his potential return. "But that's not like it has to happen. That's just what I think. But I know how I'm feeling. If they decide that I'm fine, I think by next weekend that I should be playing."
Interim manager Dave Trembley said it is still too early to determine when Tejada will return. But he did say it's his understanding Tejada will need a rehabilitation assignment.
"That's been the way it's been with everybody who stays out for an extended time. I wouldn't see why that would be any different," Trembley said. "This guy's working. ... And he's having fun doing it. We've had to hold him back from baseball activities because he wants to rush that part of the program a little bit."
Tejada said he felt good taking ground balls and working in the batting cage. He took 50 swings, including some off the tee and soft tosses. He said he'll continue to do that the rest of the road trip, while maintaining his infield work.
"I'm excited. I ... didn't feel any pain in my hand," said Tejada, who said working with a trainer during the layoff has strengthened his legs. "I don't think it's going to take me a lot of time to get ready. I think as soon as they say [that] I can play and I can swing, I'm going to be ready to play."
He also said he has no plans to ease himself back into the lineup. "I'm going to start another streak," he said.
The Orioles have signed 35 of their 48 picks in last month's draft, though two of their top three selections - first-rounder Matt Wieters and fifth-rounder Jacob Arrieta - remain unsigned. Wieters, the Georgia Tech catcher who was the fifth overall pick, and Arrieta, a right-handed pitcher from Texas Christian, are represented by Scott Boras. Eryk McConnell, a right-handed pitcher from North Carolina State whom the Orioles selected in the 10th round, is also unsigned.
The Orioles announced the details for their Hall of Fame sendoff for Cal Ripken Jr., which will take place before Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Camden Yards. Former Orioles and Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, Earl Weaver and Robin Roberts will participate in the pre-game ceremonies.
Ripken will speak to fans as part of the festivities, which will include video tributes and messages from Ripken's former teammates, and Ripken throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Murray, the most recent former Oriole to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
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The Orioles acquired infielder Bo Hart and outfielder Chris Amador from the Chicago Cubs for future considerations. Hart will report to Triple-A Norfolk and Amador will play at Single-A Frederick.firstname.lastname@example.org