- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 30, 2001

BALTIMORE Sidney Ponson hasn't won a game in his last 10 starts. It may be awhile before he gets his 11th try.

Baltimore Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said yesterday that his troubled right-hander will miss his next scheduled start and possibly more after straining a forearm muscle during Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

Ponson was examined by team doctor Michael Jacobs during last night's game, an exam that confirmed what the Orioles expected: a strained extensor muscle in his right forearm, commonly referred to as "tennis elbow."

"He's going to miss his next start, probably his next two starts," Hargrove said following Baltimore's 4-1 loss. "It's nothing serious by any stretch of the imagination. But it's going to take a while to calm down."

Ponson (5-10) strained the muscle during the third inning of Tuesday night's game. He remained in the game but was pulled after serving up two mammoth home runs in the fourth and failing to notch his first victory since June 28.

Given Ponson's recent struggles, not to mention the Orioles' lost season, the team could decide to shut him down for the final five weeks and use his spot in the starting rotation to look at September call-ups.

"That's an option, and we've certainly discussed that," Hargrove said. "But we're going to get more of a definitive answer of what exactly this is and what we can try to do. I don't necessarily think that the injury in and of itself will cause Sidney to miss the rest of the season."

Expected to mature into one of Baltimore's frontline pitchers this season, the 24-year-old Ponson has instead regressed into the franchise's least-consistent hurler, one who faces a crucial winter with his future in the balance. The Orioles must decide whether to give him another shot or attempt to deal him while he still has value.

"I'm disappointed in Sidney's season, sure," Hargrove said. "But I still think that Sidney has the potential to be a very good major league pitcher. It's just a matter of him finding the key to turn that into reality."

Segui still out

When David Segui has been healthy, he's been one of Baltimore's key run producers, the American League's fifth-best hitter with runners in scoring position (.373).

Unfortunately for the Orioles, Segui continues to be plagued by a smorgasbord of injuries, the latest a recurring sore left knee that forced the first baseman to miss his fifth straight game last night.

Segui, who signed a four-year contract worth $28 million last December, missed much of spring training and the start of the season with a pulled hamstring, then went on the disabled list in late April with a strained finger tendon and again in late July with the knee injury that continues to haunt him now.

He also battled a nasty head cold and possible vertigo earlier this month that kept him out of six games, meaning he has played in just four of the Orioles' last 15 games.

Hargrove said yesterday that Segui might be ready to resume pinch-hitting duties.

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