Tejada backs off trade comments, just wants to win

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Mazzone expresses frustration at pitching staff's lack of depth

Notebook

September 15, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

TORONTO -- A day after expressing some frustration after he was left out of the Orioles' lineup, shortstop Miguel Tejada said his reaction was spurred by the team's recent run of losses, not by manager Dave Trembley's decision to give him a day off.

"I knew I was going to have a day off the day before, and I had no problem with that," said Tejada, who was back in the lineup last night. "I get mad because I want to do something better here. The losing part, that's the problem. It's tough on all of us."

Trembley approached Tejada earlier this week and informed the shortstop that he was going to start Luis Hernandez in Thursday's series finale against the Los Angeles Angels. Trembley asked Tejada whether he wanted to serve as the team's designated hitter, but Tejada declined.

Trembley acknowledged he's planning on getting Hernandez a few more starts at shortstop during the final 2 1/2 weeks, which could make things interesting if Tejada remains reluctant to DH.

"He's not real comfortable at this point in time DH'ing, so I said, `OK, we'll just give you the day off,'" Trembley said. "I don't know what we'll do the next time. I'll talk to him again. I'd love to have his bat in the lineup. That might be something that he's going to have to learn to get accustomed to, DH'ing sometimes."

When asked before Thursday's game about Hernandez playing shortstop, Tejada said, "At least if they have somebody else, they can trade me somewhere else."

Tejada clarified those comments last night, saying: "I didn't say that I wanted to get traded. I just said that it was good to see the team bring in some new players. It might help the team, make us much better."

More from Mazzone

Despite what has been a poor period for his pitchers, Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone insisted Thursday that he feels much better about his staff this year than he did at this time last season.

"This is completely different from last year," he said.

"You knew the pitching staff that we had intact earlier this season could match up with anybody in the game. You found out this year that [Erik] Bedard is an ace. [Jeremy] Guthrie has a lot of know-how and is a smart guy. Adam Loewen is the same way. There are certain things here that make you realize ... we can put together a top-notch rotation. That's what keeps me going."

What continually brings Mazzone down is the number of pitchers who have gotten opportunities this season and not performed. "We have a core that can pitch at a championship level, but basically, we have no depth," Mazzone said.

"They're actually showing us with their performances that we're not going to be able to count on them. They're giving you reasons why they've always bounced around to teams and haven't had much success in the big leagues."

Injury update

Reliever Danys Baez did not travel with his teammates, staying in Baltimore to have a magnetic resonance imaging on his achy right elbow.

Trembley, who didn't think the injury was related to the strained right forearm that sent Baez to the disabled list earlier this season, isn't sure when Baez will rejoin his teammates.

Melvin Mora (lower back tightness) said he was feeling better and probably a couple of days from returning to the lineup. Corey Patterson (sprained left ankle) remains out and could miss the series.

Guthrie (strained left oblique) was planning to play catch before last night's game, his first baseball activity since getting injured.

Victor Zambrano, who was expected to make tonight's start but was replaced in the rotation by Kurt Birkins, is not injured, but Trembley chose to go with Birkins because he is "stretched out" and capable of pitching deeper into the game.

Zambrano hasn't pitched since Aug. 30.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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