Mejias tells O's he won't return to coach first

`My heart just wasn't into it'

Birkins going back to bullpen

Notebook

September 17, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

TORONTO -- Though Orioles officials say they won't have any announcements on coaching staff changes until the end of the season, they already know they'll have at least one vacancy to fill. First base coach and outfield instructor Sam Mejias, who was hired by former manager Sam Perlozzo, has informed team officials he's not interested in returning for a second season with the club.

Mejias, 57, said he told manager Dave Trembley and the team's front office of his plans about a month ago.

"My heart just wasn't into it, that's about it," said Mejias, admitting it was difficult for him after his friend Perlozzo was fired. "I was in a tough situation. For me, things got better, but unfortunately, we've been losing a lot of games.

"I have no complaints. It's been good. The front office has been great to me. They've all treated me with a lot of respect. They seem to appreciate my work with the outfielders and all. I appreciate everything they've done."

Asked whether he has finalized plans for next year's coaching staff, Trembley said, "We have yet to address that situation. That's something I anticipate meeting with [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] about on the last homestand or as soon as the season ends."

Pitching coach Leo Mazzone and third base coach Juan Samuel are signed through next season, as is bullpen coach Alan Dunn, whom Trembley hired last month. Bench coach Tom Trebelhorn and hitting coach Terry Crowley are both on one-year contracts that expire after the season.

Trebelhorn said he'd be interested in returning for his 13th season with the Orioles.

Zambrano to get start

A day after Kurt Birkins allowed six straight hits and couldn't get an out in the Toronto Blue Jays' six-run first, Trembley said Birkins is headed back to the bullpen and Victor Zambrano will make his next start.

Zambrano, a veteran right-hander whose contract was purchased from the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, pitched four scoreless innings in relief Saturday. He's expected to start Thursday against the Texas Rangers.

"We really felt that Birkins was the guy that was going to get us anywhere from 75 to 90 pitches [Saturday], and he didn't," Trembley said. "It allowed Zambrano to go out there and throw four innings. ... He threw strikes, he had movement. He kept the ball down. He's got experience. For a guy who hasn't pitched since Aug. 30, he showed command of his pitches."

Injury report

After missing three straight games, Melvin Mora (lower back) returned to the Orioles' lineup and went 2-for-4 yesterday before being replaced by a pinch runner in the eighth. Center field Corey Patterson (sprained left ankle) missed his 10th straight game. Patterson said he's feeling better, and he plans to run the bases tonight before the series opener against the New York Yankees. However, there are no guarantees he will play in the three-game series.

On the pitching front, Trembley acknowledged Garrett Olson (left-forearm tightness), who still hasn't gotten clearance to resume throwing, won't start again this season. However, the manager didn't rule out using Olson out of the bullpen at some point during the last homestand of the year.

Jeremy Guthrie (strained left oblique) played catch yesterday and said he was "90 percent" pain-free and would like to get back on the mound soon. Trembley said Guthrie would return only if he could start.

Around the horn

Danys Baez, who is done for the season with a partial tear in his right elbow, will likely see renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews early this week for a second opinion. ... Trembley said he is aiming to give third baseman Scott Moore a start at first base in the Texas series. ... Trembley also said he'd like to get a longer look at J.R. House behind the plate.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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