Freel Questions His Role With Team



April 18, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,

BOSTON - Orioles utility player Ryan Freel met with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail before Wednesday's game in Texas to discuss his role with the club.

Freel, who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds this offseason in the Ramon Hernandez trade, started in Friday's series opener against the Boston Red Sox, just his second start in 10 games. He acknowledged that he has struggled to adapt to being a full-time reserve.

"I'm a very impatient person," said Freel, who entered Friday's game 1-for-9 with three walks. "I'm bouncing off the walls. I have blisters on my hands from hitting every inning. It's hard, but we're winning. That's the beauty of it right now. It's about the Baltimore Orioles and not Ryan Freel. But of course you think about your situation, too, and where you stand and where you'll stand after this year.

"I know it's somewhat early, but I think my role is what you see right now. That's what they want to do, play those [other] guys. I think they're pretty clear about that. I think them acquiring [Felix Pie and Ty Wigginton] really hurt my playing time, and that definitely shows. Where we go, I don't know."

Freel, who made it clear he wasn't griping about his role, wouldn't elaborate on his meeting with MacPhail but said, "it had a lot to do with playing time."

"We'll see if [the meeting was] productive as time goes," said Freel, who is a free agent after the season. "I don't think there's light at the end of the tunnel. I think they have who they want to play, but you can't worry about what you can't control. All you can do is figure something else out. What that is, I'll let the people up top do what they have to do."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley, who said he started Freel on Friday because he was 8-for-19 over his career against Boston starter Brad Penny, asked several of the reserves to be patient with him during the early part of the season.

"I don't know if frustration is the right word," Trembley said when asked about Freel. "The guy is a gamer. He wants to play, wants to contribute. I take that as a plus."

Wieters injured

Orioles top prospect Matt Wieters was removed from Triple-A Norfolk's game against the Gwinnett Braves with what the club believes is cramping in his right hamstring.

Wieters pulled up at first base after singling in his first at-bat and was replaced by pinch runner Steve Torrealba. He's expected to be re-evaluated Saturday to determine whether the injury is more severe.

Wieters, a switch-hitting catcher expected to be called up by early June at the latest, was 1-for-11 in his first three games with the Tides. However, Friday's single made him 6-for-13 with a homer and three walks over his past four games.

Bergesen the man?

While Mark Hendrickson will start Monday's series finale here, Trembley said the Orioles probably won't announce Tuesday's starter against the Chicago White Sox until the day before the game. It appears the club is deciding between Brad Bergesen and Chris Waters.

Bergesen, who is the front-runner to replace the injured Alfredo Simon, would be pitching on five days' rest, while Waters would be on the normal four.

Around the horn

Reliever Dennis Sarfate was unavailable Monday as he continues to struggle with an inner-ear infection. He saw a doctor before the game. ... Left-hander Rich Hill threw two solid innings in an extended spring training game Friday and could be sent on a rehabilitation assignment as early as Monday.

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