- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

NEW YORK It's been 10 years since the Baltimore Orioles have held the No.4 pick in the Major League Baseball Draft, a coveted position that should in theory lead to the signing of a bonafide future star.
But as Orioles scouting director Tony DeMacio and vice president of baseball operations Syd Thrift prepare for today's proceedings, they know nothing is certain, particularly from what is being widely regarded as a weak class.
In fact, on the eve of the draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly have yet to officially decide whom they will take with the No.1 pick, though the consensus is that they will go with Ball State pitcher Bryan Bullington. That leaves the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Cincinnati Reds left to choose among a trio of high schoolers: Virginia shortstop B.J. Upton, Houston left-hander Scott Kazmir and Canadian lefty Adam Loewen.
It's likely the Orioles will take whoever is left from that group, though DeMacio has long had his eye on Georgia high school outfielder Jeremy Hermida. Baseball America calls Hermida "one of the best young hitters to come along in years."
If Baltimore goes with Hermida or if Upton falls to No.4 it would mark the first time the club has used its first selection on a position player since DeMacio took over the scouting department in 1999.

Big week for Conine
Jeff Conine's suddenly red-hot bat has not gone unnoticed in the baseball world. The Orioles first baseman yesterday was named AL Player of the Week for May 27-June 2.
In six games last week, Conine had five home runs, nine RBI, a .375 batting average and a 1.083 slugging percentage.
And some of his biggest hits seemed to come at the most opportune moments. Conine homered twice in Wednesday's 10-5 win over Oakland, including a three-run blast that capped the Orioles' comeback.

Segui rejoins team
Two weeks removed from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left wrist, David Segui returned to the Orioles' clubhouse yesterday, though he won't be returning to the lineup any time soon.
Segui was told he could resume baseball-related activities 6-to-8 weeks following surgery, meaning he's likely still a month away from swinging a bat.
"It's going to require some patience," Segui said. "I'm not very patient."

Bullpen help
As expected, the Orioles activated right-hander Chris Brock off the 15-day disabled list yesterday, providing some much-needed relief for their overworked bullpen.
Manager Mike Hargrove was forced to use five relievers in Sunday's 11-8 loss to the Seattle Mariners, a couple of which were already tired. Both right-hander Rick Bauer and lefty Buddy Groom (the Orioles' top set-up men) were throwing fastballs in the upper 80s, well below their normal velocities.
Hargrove hoped to avoid using either pitcher last night against the Yankees and said he may need to extend his starters over the next few days to keep the bullpen fresh.
"In cases like now, you just bite the bullet," Hargrove said. "The thing of it is, a lot of the success that we've had has been due to our bullpen. We've got to get them back to rested. We've got to be smart about what we do the next couple, three days."
To make room for Brock on the roster, the Orioles optioned outfielder Luis Garcia to Class AAA Rochester.

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