- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2002

NEW YORK Desperate for help in their taxed bullpen, the Baltimore Orioles made a flurry of roster moves yesterday, promoting two young starter candidates, placing one veteran on the disabled list and finally alleviating their burdensome catching situation.
Right-hander Rick Bauer, who was optioned to Class AAA Rochester nine days ago, was recalled along with left-hander Erik Bedard, who is making his first appearance in the majors after two starts at Class AA Bowie.
Those somewhat surprising promotions came at the expense of right-hander Chris Brock, who was placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, and third-string catcher Fernando Lunar, who was designated for assignment and whose days with the Orioles have likely come to an end.
The decision to cut Lunar, who hit .246 in 64 games last season but had been limited to two innings as a defensive replacement behind starter Geronimo Gil and backup Brook Fordyce this year, had been anticipated for some time. Lunar, 24, has long been considered a work-in-progress, but because he is out of minor-league options, the Orioles could not send him down without first exposing him to waivers. They'll now have to wait 10 days while other clubs decide whether to claim Lunar or trade for him.
"I want to play," said Lunar, who was acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the B.J. Surhoff trade. "Last year they gave me a chance and I played a little bit, but that's not enough. I hope somebody will give me a chance. If I have to go to the minor leagues, I'll go and show them I can hit."
Given their dearth of available arms, the Orioles had no choice but to cut Lunar.
"We were holding off making this move because for some reason we didn't feel like we needed that 12th pitcher right now," manager Mike Hargrove said before last night's series opener against the New York Yankees. "It came on us a little more suddenly than we thought, but we were ready to make the move."
When starter Jason Johnson lasted just 1⅓ innings Monday in Chicago, complaining of a "dead arm," and Brock followed with ⅔ of an inning before his shoulder started acting up, the Orioles suddenly found themselves in need of healthy arms.
Enter Bauer, who was pulled from his scheduled start Monday at Pawtucket, R.I., so he could fly to New York and join the Orioles, and Bedard, who impressed the organization this spring but had never pitched above Class A before this year. Bedard figured he wouldn't be getting a call from Baltimore for some time.
"I thought they were kidding," said Bedard, 23. "I didn't know what to say."

Cordova back in lineup
Marty Cordova, who missed Monday's game and returned to Baltimore to have his inflamed right hip examined by team doctor Charles Silberstein, rejoined the team in New York yesterday and was back in the starting lineup. Cordova was diagnosed with tendinitis in the hip, though the injury is not considered serious.
Cordova, though, still hasn't appeared in the field. In the four games he's played (he spent the first 11 days of the season on the DL with a strained right quadriceps), he's served only as designated hitter.
Hargrove said he thinks Cordova, who signed a three-year, $9.1million contract this winter, will be ready to start in left field within the next few days.

Hairston still on shelf
Second baseman Jerry Hairston proclaimed his strained groin muscle healed yesterday and said he could return after a four-day layoff. By Hargrove's logic, that means Hairston will really be ready to come back today.
"When a guy has an injury like this and they say they're ready, I most generally like to give them one more day," Hargrove said. Melvin Mora, who is second in the American League with a .531 on-base percentage, made his fifth straight start at second base in Hairston's place.
"Obviously the way Melvin's going makes it a little easier to do," Hargrove said.

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