SEATTLE -- -After getting picked off at first base with men on first and third and one out in the Orioles' five-run ninth inning on Wednesday, first baseman Aubrey Huff would have liked nothing better than to jog of the field and disappear into the dugout, not drawing any more attention to himself than he already had.
Instead, Huff, who slipped and fell while in the rundown, was forced to limp off the field, flanked by Orioles head athletic trainer Richie Bancells. He was later diagnosed with a strained left groin, but he said that he didn't think it would keep him out for an extended period.
"I think my pride was more hurt than my groin," said Huff who went 1-for-5 in the Orioles' 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners. "I did the whole splits, and it just kind of grabbed me real quick. It's kind of sore, but everything is cool."
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said that Huff will be re-evaluated today, an off-day, and it's too early to tell if he'll miss any time.
"He won't be able to say one way or the other if it's minor, major or if he'll be out," Trembley said. "He wanted to go out there [for the bottom of the ninth], but Richie said it probably wasn't good to do that."
The Orioles will have to make a roster move Friday with the return of shortstop Cesar Izturis. At this point, either infielder Oscar Salazar or outfielder Felix Pie is likely to be traded or designated for assignment to make room. If Huff needs to go to the disabled list, that would put off the need to make a decision. However, Huff said that he doesn't think his injury is serious enough to warrant a DL stint.
Finding his niche
When veteran left-hander Mark Hendrickson signed with the Orioles this past offseason, one of the things that attracted him was the opportunity to start. But after another solid relief outing in the Orioles' victory Tuesday, Hendrickson acknowledged that he has finally embraced a bullpen role.
"I've done it the last couple of years, and I've noticed the hitters' reactions to my pitches are a little bit different," said Hendrickson. "I think that's attributed to some of the success and then for myself, going back and forth, you just want to embrace a role and kind of dominate it. Whether it's long relief or situational work, I just feel like maybe this is my fit for the remainder of my career."
The numbers show clearly that the 35-year-old is more effective when coming out of the bullpen. This season, he is 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 17 games as a reliever. In 28 innings of relief, he's surrendered nine earned runs, 25 hits, including two home runs, and eight walks while striking out 21.
In seven starts spanning 28 1/3 innings, Hendrickson has gone 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA and allowed 20 earned runs, 42 hits, including seven homers, and 13 walks while fanning 18.
Over his career, Hendrickson is 48-65 with a 5.31 ERA in 161 starts. He's 6-2 with a 3.28 ERA in 78 relief appearances.
Won't be forgotten
With Izturis expected to be activated Friday, Robert Andino's days as the Orioles' everyday shortstop will come to an end. Andino started all 31 games while Izturis was recovering from his June 5 appendectomy. Trembley said that Andino has earned playing time even when Izturis returns, both at shortstop and second base.
"I think it would be unreasonable to expect that Izturis after missing all that time ... is going to play seven, eight days in a row," Trembley said. "When you have someone like Andino, who has played so well, I think he basically has earned some playing time."