- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2001

BALTIMORE Baltimore Orioles manager Mike Hargrove already had rearranged his starting rotation to give ace Pat Hentgen time to recover from a stiff shoulder. Since Mother Nature decided to wash out last night's game against the Anaheim Angels at Camden Yards, the manager now can give two more pitchers an extra day of rest.
With a line of severe thunderstorms making its way into the area, the Orioles called off last night's scheduled 7:05 game around 5:45 p.m. The two teams will make it up tomorrow night at 7:05.
With the rainout, neither Hargrove nor Angels manager Mike Scioscia will change the order of his rotation; Willis Roberts, last night's scheduled Baltimore starter, will pitch this afternoon against Scott Schoeneweis. Jason Johnson will start tomorrow night against Ramon Ortiz. Since tomorrow was originally an off-day, the Orioles rotation will be back on schedule for this weekend's series with Texas. Jose Mercedes will start Friday, Sidney Ponson on Saturday and Hentgen on Sunday.
By that time, Hentgen will be throwing on 10 days' rest, with the Orioles hoping the condition of his stiff right shoulder improves.
Hentgen, who first noticed tightness in his throwing shoulder about three weeks ago, last started May 16, pitching seven solid innings in Baltimore's 3-2 win over Detroit. He threw a bullpen session yesterday afternoon and reported no new problems.
"This is not a big deal," Hargrove said. "On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 3. It's mainly a general maintenance thing where his arm is stiff and we have the chance to give him an extra day or two. And we'd be crazy not to take advantage of that."
Hentgen wasn't quite as optimistic, though he does not view Sunday's scheduled start as up in the air.
"I don't really know what's going to happen right now," he said. "I'm just going to continue to get treatment, and I think I'll be fine."
Since signing a two-year deal over the winter, Hentgen has been the Orioles' most reliable starter, posting a 2-3 record and 3.47 ERA while not getting much run support.
"It's your normal aches and pains that you get as a pitcher, and I think that's something I probably can throw through," he said. "But I understand, given the off-days in the early part of the season, it's probably a wise move."

Positive signs

Without much fanfare, the Orioles have been hanging around in the American League East standings through the first two months of the season. Entering last night's play, Baltimore was 20-24 and only 5 1/2 games behind division-leading Boston and three games behind third-place Toronto.
There are four AL teams with substantially worse records than the Orioles (Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Texas and the Chicago White Sox), which may come as some surprise to those who projected Baltimore as one of the two or three worst teams in baseball.
"We're five games back, and I don't think we've played our best baseball yet," catcher Brook Fordyce said. "We could be playing .500 ball.
"We are where we are right now. We've played pretty good baseball, and we can play better baseball. That's how I look at it."

Extra bases

Whether he sticks with it today has yet to be seen, but Hargrove penciled in his 41st different lineup in 45 games before last night's game was rained out… .
Right-hander Miguel Felix pitched a three-hit shutout for Class AA Bowie on Monday night against New Haven. Felix is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and has struck out 54 batters in 56 2/3 innings for the Baysox this season… .
The Orioles are urging fans who held tickets to last night's game to use them for tomorrow's makeup date. However, fans may still exchange their tickets for any remaining Monday through Thursday game during the rest of the 2001 season, subject to availability.

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