BOSTON — — Originally expected to be activated Monday, outfielder Felix Pie asked the club if he can extend his rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie for one more day, meaning he won't be back in the Orioles' lineup until Tuesday night's game in Detroit.
Pie's return figured to send the current starter in left field, Corey Patterson, back to the bench and the fourth outfielder's role. But interim manager Juan Samuel said Sunday that Patterson will remain in the lineup at designated hitter, a switch that is possible with Luke Scott now on the disabled list.
Patterson "has helped us tremendously offensively," said Samuel, who also said the presence of both Pie and Patterson will allow him to give Adam Jones and Nick Markakis occasional days off. "We want to keep him fresh, keep playing him and give him some time in left when we feel that Felix might need a day off. Our plan is probably to play Felix three, four games and see where he is. Maybe he needs an off day and Corey will go back out there. But we're going to continue to get at-bats for Corey.
"He was sitting at home without a job, and when we needed some help, he came here and he really lifted our offense. He's been getting on base and stealing some bases for us. I'm happy for him."
Patterson went 1-for-5 with a stolen base in Sunday's 6-1 victory against the Boston Red Sox, leaving him with a .292 average and 15 steals. He has hit in nine straight games, going 16-for-37 (.432) during that span. Over his last 21 games, Patterson is batting .358 (29-for-81) with 11 multi-hit efforts.
Samuel also said Patterson will continue to hit leadoff and Pie most likely would hit lower in the lineup until he works off some rust. Pie, who hasn't played since April 15 because of a torn muscle in his back, is 8-for-22 (.364) in his first six rehab games, two of them for Single-A Frederick and four for Double-A Bowie.
"My plan was to put him in left field, not lead him off to start," Samuel said. "Get him some time. Hit him low in the order until he gets his swing or we see him where he needs to be. Keep in mind, he has lost a tremendous amount of time here."
Tough day for Bell
Rookie third baseman Josh Bell, who is one of the leading candidates to be demoted to Triple-A Norfolk when Pie is activated, had a rough afternoon Sunday. He struck out in his first three at-bats against John Lackey and then hurt himself swinging and missing against Dustin Richardson in the eighth inning.
Bell's right knee appeared to buckle on his right-handed swing, and he then fell to the dirt. He got up gingerly, and Samuel and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells came out of the dugout to check on him. He was removed from the game and diagnosed with right leg cramps.
"I'm fine," Bell said. "Just the way I was positioned in the box, I couldn't really turn on it so as soon as I swung, I fell and it just cramped all the way up."
Worth the wait
Jake Fox thought he had one as soon as the ball left his bat, but he wouldn't learn that he had hit his first home run as an Oriole at Fenway Park until about five minutes later. Fox's two-run blast in the ninth inning Saturday off Robert Manuel hit near the top of the Green Monster and bounced down back on the field. It was initially ruled a double, but the call was reversed to a homer after an extended replay review.
"I've just been joking around all day, saying that's the longest one I've ever hit, especially as far as the time goes," said Fox, who had been 1-for-10 since joining the Orioles before the home run. "I've always enjoyed playing in this park. I came here with the Cape Cod League, and I really liked playing here. You always dream of hitting one at a place like this, and you feel good to get that."
Fox also acknowledged that it felt good to contribute to his new team. The utility man has started just twice in 12 games since the Orioles got him June 22 in a trade with the Oakland Athletics, who designated Fox for assignment because they were also having problems finding him at-bats.
"The first half of the season has been difficult for me," Fox said. "Personally, I know I can play at this level, but all you can ask for as a player is an opportunity, and I don't really feel like I've gotten that opportunity. I wish at some point, a team would throw me in for two or three weeks and say, 'Go get 'em, let's see what you can do.' Then, it's up to me, it's on my shoulders. ... I think the more you go out and play well, the more consistent at-bats you put together, the more chances you are going to get."
Samuel explains meeting
Samuel gave a more detailed explanation Sunday of why he felt the need to speak to the team after its 9-3 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday night. The Orioles committed two errors in the game and made numerous other sloppy plays.
"I just felt it was time," he said. "We didn't really play well. We saw some sloppy fielding. Yes, we did win some games at home. But we didn't really play good defense. We need to tighten those things up. For me, it's about competing each game, each at-bat, each pitch. Like I told the guys, if we do that, we can live with the outcome. We just need to see a good effort on the field."
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