If I'm making the decisions for the Orioles - and I really, really don't want that responsibility - I'd get Hayden Penn up here.

A team official indicated a few days ago that Penn might not return until rosters expand on Sept. 1. There are still some concerns about his conditioning after the surgery.


One more start in Ottawa should do the trick.

I received a press release today from Major League Baseball promoting its Comeback Player of the Year Award. There are six finalists in each league, and fans can choose the winners by voting on MLB.com through Sept. 30.

The AL winner should be a slam dunk. Jim Thome batted .207 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 59 games with the Phillies last year. Since being traded to the White Sox, he's batting .301 with 33 homers and 84 RBIs in 99 games.

Corey Patterson, Magglio Ordonez, Curt Schilling, Rafael Soriano and Frank Thomas can vie for runner-up.

In the NL, I'd take Carlos Beltran over Nomar Garciaparra and Scott Rolen. But it's a much harder choice.

Beltran has raised his average from .266 to .281, and increased his home runs and RBIs from 16 and 78 to 33 and 97. Garciaparra has improved his average from .283 to .327, and his home run and RBIs totals from nine and 30 to 12 and 57. Rolen has increased his average from .235 to .316, and his home run and RBI totals from five and 28 to 15 and 71.

Joe Borowski, Johnny Estrada and Edgar Renteria are the other finalists.

The press release reminded me, over and over again, that the Comeback Player of the Year Award is presented by Viagra.

Sometimes, I think they do this just to torture me.