Orioles Get Bench Back To Full Strength

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

August 30, 2009

A night after being so short-handed that he needed utility infielder Robert Andino to play center field for just the second time in his career, Orioles manager Dave Trembley's bench was back to full strength.

That meant All-Star Adam Jones returned to the lineup for the first time since Sunday after being held out because of back soreness.

Felix Pie, who had started five straight games in center field in Jones' absence, was available for Saturday night's game after being removed Friday with tightness in his left hamstring, though he didn't start with left-hander Jeremy Sowers on the mound for the Cleveland Indians. And first baseman Michael Aubrey, who hadn't been available the previous two games with soreness in his rib cage, was cleared to play but was not in the Orioles lineup.

"Obviously, we feel fortunate that we got Jones back and that Pie's OK and Aubrey's OK," Trembley said.

All three players arrived at Camden Yards early Saturday afternoon to take some swings and put themselves through a light workout to show whether they were able to play. Pie, who is batting .386 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his past 15 games, is expected to return to the lineup today.

"He's able to play," Trembley said. "He's not playing today because I'm putting a right-handed-hitting lineup in. You'll probably see Pie play left field tomorrow with a right-hander going."

Baines, Wagner honored

Saying he appreciated how the Orioles and their fans had always treated him like a family member, former designated hitter Harold Baines officially became the 46th member of the team's Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

Baines, who spent seven of his 22 major league seasons with the Orioles and had three separate stints with the club, was enshrined during a ceremony that included appearances by Cal Ripken Jr., Ernie Tyler, Al Bumbry, Dick Hall and Chris Hoiles.

"Any kid who grew up in Maryland would feel that it was a great dream to play in an Orioles uniform," said Baines, a native and current resident of St. Michaels.

Former community relations director Julie Wagner was honored as the recipient of the Herb Armstrong Award, given to nonuniformed personnel who have made a significant contribution to the ballclub.

On the winning side

Orioles reliever Cla Meredith didn't know exactly how many games it had been since he last pitched in a victory. He was aware that he had gotten few opportunities to protect a lead for either his former team, the San Diego Padres, or his current club, the Orioles.

But he didn't know that the previous 33 games that he had pitched in before Friday night had been losses, one of the quirkiest streaks in baseball this season. It came to an end when Meredith, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres on July 19 for utility infielder Oscar Salazar, pitched the sixth inning in the Orioles' 13-4 victory Friday night. It was the first time Meredith had pitched in a game his team won since May 25, when his Padres defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-7.

"It's not something that I really get too worked up about," said Meredith who entered Friday night with a 5.60 ERA in 16 appearances since joining the Orioles. "It's one of those things where it's been tough. Any reliever, any guy that is competitive wants to help the ballclub win. For some reason or another, I haven't gotten an opportunity [to hold leads] as much as I used to. Sometimes, it's hard to pitch constantly in roles that aren't as, I guess, nail-biting as others. You learn just to try to get outs whenever you get the ball. That's all you can do."

Gathright traded from Tides

The Orioles traded Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Joey Gathright to Triple-A Pawtucket of the Boston Red Sox organization in exchange for a player to be named or cash. The move makes it likely that Norfolk outfielder Jeff Fiorentino will be called up to join the Orioles when major league rosters expand Tuesday.

Gathright, a 28-year-old who the Orioles acquired from the Chicago Cubs on May 8 in exchange for outfielder Ryan Freel, hit .329 with 20 RBIs and 24 steals in 80 games with the Tides.

Around the horn

Outfielder Nick Markakis was due to get Saturday night off, but those plans changed with the health question marks of Jones and Pie. Markakis was allowed to come to the ballpark a couple of hours later than the rest of the club. ... Trembley confirmed that pitching prospect Jake Arrieta and infield prospects Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder will not get September promotions. ... Injured pitcher Koji Uehara will throw off the mound Monday for the first time during his throwing program. ... With his three hits and career-high four RBIs on Friday, Matt Wieters became the first Orioles rookie with at least three hits and four RBIs in the same game since Sept. 22, 2001, when catcher Geronimo Gil had three hits and five RBIs against the New York Yankees.

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