The Orioles activated Jeffrey Hammonds sooner than expected yesterday and placed center fielder Mike Devereaux on the disabled list.
Devereaux, out with a pulled right hamstring, is expected to miss anywhere from 15 days to four weeks. He was sidelined for a month in 1990 with a similar injury.
"I'm looking to be back in two weeks, but I just have to make sure I don't go back out there too soon," he said yesterday. "If you come back a day too soon it goes right back to where it started."
Hammonds, returning from a strained ligament in his right knee, would not have been activated this soon if Devereaux had not gone on the disabled list, said assistant general manager Frank Robinson.
Hammonds was scheduled to arrive shortly before game time from Florida, where he had been working out for more than a week. But he was stranded in Cincinnati by bad weather. He wasn't expected in the lineup anyway.
"We're not going to just throw him back out there," said Greg Biagini, standing in for a day as Orioles manager. "We still have an opportunity for him to work his way back."
Hammonds played four innings and batted four times Thursday at a mini-camp consisting mostly of recently drafted players and was scheduled to play five innings yesterday until Devereaux's injury hastened his return.
Hammonds went on the disabled list May 10, retroactive to May 4. He was hitting .326 with seven doubles, two triples, four home runs and 14 RBIs in 23 games.
Is he 100 percent?
"He's progressing excellently and his knee is healed," team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs said. "But it's not until we can see him play two or three games can we say he is 100 percent."
During Devereaux's absence, Hammonds will play in left, Brady Anderson in center and Chris Sabo in right for home games, with Dwight Smith and Jack Voigt filling in at the corners.
'Hey you' manages Orioles
Closer Lee Smith was unaware Oates was not managing last night's game until told by a reporter.
"Who's managing?" Smith said.
Biagini, he was told.
"Oh, I'm glad you told me his name," Smith said. "I've been calling him 'hey you' since the first day of spring training. . . . I thought sure Elrod [Hendricks] would get that job. I guess he's too busy talking to everybody out by the bullpen to take any time off for managing. He's got to know everyone in every American League city."
L Smith scolded himself for arriving at the ballpark so early.
"If I'd a known J.O. wasn't going to be here I would have showed up around a quarter to nine," he said.
Oates chose to turn the reins over to Biagini rather than first base coach Davey Lopes, who has been interviewed for managing jobs in San Francisco and Houston.
"I don't think it's a big deal one way or the other," Lopes said. "The lineup was already made. Cinderella going to the prom for one night? I've done that in Texas. That's not my goal, to manage a team for one day."
Pitching coach Dick Bosman hasn't ruled out managing as a possible future career either, but it's not on his mind at the moment.
"I've got my hands full with what I do now," Bosman said. "I like what I do. . . . I think the majority of pitchers who get in it, get in it to teach their trade."