Sore hamstring benches Mora

ORILES NOTEBOOK

April 14, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -Saying his left hamstring is getting worse and worse, third baseman Melvin Mora was not in the Orioles' lineup in Monday's series opener against the Texas Rangers. He said he isn't sure when he'll be able to return.

Mora was removed from Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays after two at-bats because he felt his hamstring, which he initially hurt while playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, tighten up in the cold weather.

"I need to heal the thing before I go back into the lineup. I got to be 100 percent," said Mora, who didn't rule out a trip to the disabled list. "I can't run. I didn't pull it. It's just like, every time I run, I feel like I have a baseball inside [it]. It's not bad where I'm going to be out for three months. It just doesn't feel good."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley, who said Ty Wigginton will start at third base in Mora's absence, said Mora's status is day-to-day but he was available Monday to serve as a pinch hitter. Mora is batting .313 with one homer and seven RBIs in five games.

"I told him, 'Melvin, we should get this thing where it's 100 percent, where we don't have to go back and forth, play one day, can't play one day,' " Trembley said. "I don't think that's fair to him, and I don't think that's fair to the team."

Baltimore at last

Most of the Orioles sounded indifferent about their new road jerseys, which they wore for the first time Monday. The gray jerseys featured the script "Baltimore" across the front for the first time since the 1972 season. Orioles fans have been clamoring for the change for years, and reliever Jamie Walker certainly agrees with them, though he said he would like to see one more change made.

"We're the Baltimore Orioles," Walker said. "Why wouldn't we have Baltimore across our chest? I think we ought to go back to the cartoon bird, too. That's what I know the Orioles as. I think the cartoon bird is the best."

Asked about the new jerseys, longtime Oriole Brian Roberts said: "As players, we just put the uniform on and go play, but if the fans want it, that's good by us. It won't make a difference in how we play, probably. But I can understand if the fans have an emotional attachment and want it on there."

Samuel mourns Kalas

Orioles third base coach Juan Samuel, who played seven seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies, was looking through pictures Sunday from the ceremony for his induction into the Phillies Wall of Fame last year. The emcee of that ceremony was Harry Kalas, the legendary Phillies announcer who died Monday after collapsing in the broadcast booth before the Phillies-Washington Nationals game.

"I've known him for a long, long time, and he was a real good friend of mine," Samuel said. "He's one of the people that every time I went to Philadelphia, I'd look forward to seeing. Now, I'm going to miss that. And I know all the fans in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania are going to miss that voice. It's probably not going to be the same."

Around the horn

Weather-related travel delays postponed left-hander Rich Hill's bullpen session, which was scheduled before Monday's game but will now take place Tuesday. Thursday's day off allows Trembley the opportunity to skip Adam Eaton's next turn Saturday, though the club hasn't decided whether it will do that. It's probably more likely Eaton will pitch Saturday in Fenway Park and Koji Uehara will get the extra day of rest.

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