Mora recovery picks up speed

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

rehab trip likely

Third baseman passes running test, could be back with O's on Tuesday

August 02, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

BOSTON -- Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora ran the bases without pain before last night's game and could begin a rehabilitation assignment as early as tomorrow.

Mora, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right foot sustained in a collision at the plate July 1, will report to Fenway Park today, and if he gets clearance to resume playing, he could join one of the Orioles' minor league affiliates through the weekend.

"Melvin ran the bases today, ran them real good. He ran hard," interim manager Dave Trembley said. "If he comes in tomorrow and gets clearance from [head trainer Richie Bancells] ... I talked to Melvin today about going out on a rehab for a couple of days and I think that's what's going to happen."

When asked about it in recent days, Mora has been lukewarm about the idea of a rehab assignment, but he said yesterday that he has no problem with doing whatever the club suggests.

"I don't know where that really came from to be honest with you. I've never known Melvin to be like that," said Trembley, who said it is likely Mora will be available Tuesday for the start of a homestand. "I presented how we wanted to do it and he was fine with it. [Miguel] Tejada tried to give it to him a little bit, told him that we're sending him 15 days to [short-season Single-A] Bluefield. But I told him that we're not going to do that."

Mora has had just two at-bats since injuring his foot. He's been taking batting practice with the club, but yesterday was the first time he had run the bases. Bancells and assistant trainer Brian Ebel put him through a rigorous test, and Mora and third base coach Juan Samuel even engaged in a race from third to home. Mora won.

"No pain," Mora said. "I just need to get in a game and see what happens. I need to continue to get treatment."

Baez back

Reliever Danys Baez rejoined his teammates after missing Tuesday's series opener because he was sick. It's the second time in the past week that Baez has stayed home because he wasn't feeling well.

"I feel a little bit better now," he said before last night's game. "I had that virus, and it's been a tough week for my house and for me."

Baez pitched a scoreless eighth inning last night.

O's, Wieters talk

With the non-waiver trade deadline behind them, the Orioles have intensified negotiations with catcher Matt Wieters, their first-round pick in the June amateur draft. Joe Jordan, the club's director of scouting, said he made contact yesterday with a representative from agent Scott Boras' corporation. Boras is serving as Wieters' adviser.

"We're trying to really get this thing moving," Jordan said.

The Orioles have until Aug. 15 to sign Wieters or he becomes eligible to re-enter next year's draft.

"This was our timetable all along," Jordan said. "We're hoping that within a week to 10 days, we'll get to where we need to get. It's been a wait-and-see approach on both sides."

Negotiations were expected to carry into this month, just as they have done.

"We could have been throwing money at them all summer and we'd still be at this point," Jordan said.

Around the horn

Aubrey Huff, who has just 15 hits in his past 89 at-bats, did not start yesterday. He took extra batting practice yesterday, trying to work on being more upright in his stance. Trembley hopes that will help him drive the ball more. ... Freddie Bynum (strained left hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie today, followed by games with Single-A Frederick and Delmarva. ... MasterCard is presenting the Orioles Dreams Event on Aug. 7, which will include exclusive suite access and a meet-and-greet opportunity with Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell. Ticket giveaways began yesterday on www.mlb.com and www.priceless.com. ... New Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett threw out the first pitch before last night's game.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

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