- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 16, 2002

Orioles Notes

PHILADELPHIA Jeff Conine has no trouble describing what his strained right hamstring feels like.
"Like somebody took a punch and hit me in the leg," the Baltimore Orioles first baseman said. "It's sore."
Conine was still feeling the effects yesterday of the injury, which occurred while he was legging out a triple in Friday night's 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. He was not in Baltimore's starting lineup last night for only the second time in 65 games this season, and following the game he was placed on the disabled list for the first time in four years.
To fill his place on the roster, the Orioles will purchase the contract of third baseman Jose Leon from Class AAA Rochester and transfer injured DH David Segui from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Leon was batting .300 with eight homers and 35 RBI at Rochester.
Conine's trip to the DL is his first since 1998, when injuries limited him to 93 games with the Kansas City Royals. Conine's only extended respite since coming to Baltimore came at the end of the 2000 season, when he missed the final 18 games with a sprained ankle but was never placed on the DL.
Before last night's game, Conine was still holding out hope that he would be able to return in a few days, but the leg had not healed enough yet, and the DL became a necessity.
"The swelling didn't go down as much as we'd like," said Conine, who will miss the Orioles' upcoming trip to Arizona and San Francisco. "And with interleague games in National League parks coming up, you can't be a player short."
Jay Gibbons, the Orioles' regular right fielder, came in to finish Friday's game at first base, and he started there last night. Though he came up through the minors as a first baseman, Gibbons started just four games there last season and had not appeared in the infield this year until Friday.
"It felt like I've never played there in my whole life that first inning," Gibbons said of his initial feelings back in the infield. "But it got more comfortable after that."
Hargrove had said Gibbons would serve as his everyday first baseman if Conine was placed on the DL, with Ryan McGuire likely remaining on the bench.

Batista OK
No one can claim that Tony Batista is a soft ballplayer. One night after getting drilled in the head by Robert Person's fastball and banging his left knee into a railing at Veterans Stadium, Batista was right back in the Orioles' lineup.
The Baltimore third baseman went down twice Friday night. He toppled after Person's seventh-inning fastball clocked him in the front of his helmet but got up and trotted to first base. One inning later, while chasing down a foul popup, Batista slammed into the railing along the third-base line.
Though sporting a nasty cut on his left knee, Batista remained in the game and was able to bat cleanup last night, continuing as the only Oriole to start every game.

Tear it down, please
Veterans Stadium has long been regarded one of the worst sporting facilities in America, and the Orioles have learned a couple of reasons why. Baltimore could not take batting practice yesterday because it was raining outside and the indoor batting cage was flooded after a nearby pipe burst.
The Orioles complained to the Vet grounds crew about a large, exposed section of concrete in the visitors' bullpen that took its toll Friday on reliever Willis Roberts. Roberts, wearing spikes, slipped on the concrete and landed on his elbow, though he appears to be OK.


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