Not so merry-go-round at shortstop dizzies O's


Club still shops as Cintron hits DL, Bynum returns

July 02, 2008|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

The Orioles' shortstop carousel took another spin yesterday, with Alex Cintron going on the disabled list and Freddie Bynum returning to the team a week after being designated for assignment.

Where it stops, no one knows.

The club remains in the market for a shortstop and has engaged in talks with the Washington Nationals regarding Felipe Lopez. The Orioles have also been scouting the Chicago White Sox's Juan Uribe. Lopez and Uribe play second base, but both have extensive experience at shortstop.

"It happened in spring training with so many guys getting hurt, the backup guys getting hurt; it has been a difficult project," manager Dave Trembley said. "I know [team president Andy MacPhail] has made that a definite thing for a lot of our pro scouts and major league scouts to go out and look. That's a priority. It's probably continuing a little bit quicker now because of what happened to Cintron last night."

Cintron strained his left hamstring while beating out an infield hit Monday against the Kansas City Royals. He had supplanted Bynum as the starter.

"When I touched the bag, I felt like a pull a little bit, but it's not that bad," Cintron said. "I don't think it's something that's going to take like two months; I think maybe 10 days and I'll be ready, but we need somebody else because we have no other options. Hopefully, I'll be back for the second half."

Cintron raised his average to .275 with seven RBIs in 26 games and looked steadier in the field the past few days.

"I felt like I was getting in my rhythm, I was getting into a groove and making good plays, catching the ball, getting my hits and feeling more comfortable, and that happens, so it's kind of frustrating," he said.

Bynum hit .192 in 34 games with the Orioles before being outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. He went 6-for-15 with the Tides.

"No matter what they say to you, it's always bitter," Bynum said. "When you get sent down, it's not a good thing, but things happen for a reason. Maybe that was part of the plan to get me going, and hopefully I come back up here and stay. I don't like the reason I'm up here, but I'll try to help the team the best I can."

Brandon Fahey started at shortstop last night, and Trembley said he'll take it "game by game."

"I wrote the lineup today with Fahey in the lineup, and we'll see how he does. If he does well, I'll play him. It's that simple," Trembley said. "I think both guys are rather similar."

Decision time for Albers

Reliever Matt Albers will fly to Birmingham, Ala., today and have his right shoulder examined by renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews. Albers then will decide whether to undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder or attempt to rehabilitate the injured cartilage.

"Obviously, his reputation is good," Albers said. "I wanted to see a doctor who has a lot of experience in this, and I can make my best decision. It's a tough decision, whether I can come back this year and help the team. Obviously, I want to do that. Surgery doesn't sound like a lot of fun. You don't want to do that, but you have to look toward the future."

In the meantime, the Orioles' bullpen has undergone a disturbing transformation. Trembley conceded that he needs three relievers - Ryan Bukvich, Dennis Sarfate and Adam Loewen - to help fill Albers' role. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz told Bukvich and Sarfate that they needed to "step it up," according to Trembley, who had a similar discussion with Loewen.

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