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Sore shoulder forces McDonald to miss start


&TC; Ben McDonald will miss his scheduled start tonight because of an inflamed muscle in his throwing shoulder.

Jamie Moyer will start in McDonald's place, Orioles manager Phil Regan said.

"I don't think it's a long-term thing," Regan said. "He felt much better today than he did the last three or four days."

McDonald said he felt his shoulder act up about three or four weeks ago, but tried to pitch through it. His injured shoulder was part of the reason he preferred to pitch on five days' rest instead of three last week.

But with the extra rest, McDonald (2-4, 4.40 ERA) struggled with his control -- walking a season-high seven batters and giving up five runs, including two homers, in six innings.

McDonald said pitching through the injury fouled up his mechanics, and thus, his control.

"A lot of it's mechanics," McDonald said. "When your arm is hurting, you take a different approach.

Regan said McDonald's injury prevented him from extending his arm.

McDonald will be examined today by team doctors. Then he will throw lightly, Regan said. He will throw again tomorrow. If all goes well, Regan said McDonald could start Saturday against Boston.

If McDonald cannot make his next start, Scott Klingenbeck will pitch instead.

The team is carrying 12 pitchers and 13 position players. It would like to option a pitcher (if McDonald is healthy) and add a position player from Triple-A Rochester. Outfielder Mark Smith is the most likely candidate, but Sherman Obando, Jeff Huson and Damon Buford also are in the running.

Zaun gets uncle's number

The team's newest position player, catcher Greg Zaun, has only been with the Orioles for two days but he already has changed numbers.

Matt Nokes' departure enabled Zaun to swap his No. 48 for No. 24 -- the number worn by Nokes and by Zaun's uncle, former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey.

Zaun told clubhouse manager Jimmy Tyler that if Dempsey's number were ever available, he wanted it. Zaun arrived at the ballpark yesterday and found his new number in his locker. He also wrote No. 24 in all of his baseball caps.

But he hasn't told his Uncle Rick about the switch, yet. "He'd probably tell me to wear another number because then they'll expect you to be just like me," Zaun said.

Zaun isn't turning into Dempsey, at least not yet.

"You're not going to see me sliding into tarps any time soon," Zaun said. "Maybe in 15 years, but you're not going to see that for a while."

Oquist: Dean of bullpen

With Alan Mills' demotion to Rochester, Mike Oquist is the reliever with the longest service in an Orioles uniform (considering Moyer as a starter). Oquist, who made his first appearance with the Orioles in 1993, has always been the pitcher most likely to go back to Rochester.

The perennial bubble man was tickled about his senior status, outlasting the likes of Mark Williamson and Jim Poole.

"It's kind of surprising," Oquist said. "I've never been considered a veteran, not yet, anyway."

Palermo politicking

Former umpire Steve Palermo is in Baltimore for this series broadcasting for the Madison Square Garden network and to talk with players and managers about his proposed changes to speed up the game.

The reviews on the changes have been mixed. "Positive and negative -- that's what makes this game so great," Palermo said.

He is optimistic the changes will make the game more fun for the players and the fans.

"We're going to take the job and work out of baseball and put the fun and the game back into it," Palermo said.

Baines nears milestone

He wasn't in the lineup last night against lefty Sterling Hitchcock, but Harold Baines' next game will be his 1,000th as a designated hitter. Only former Oriole Don Baylor (1,285) and Hal McRae (1,428) have been in the DH spot that many games.

But Baines will be the only player in history to play in 1,000 or more games as a DH and 1,000 at another position. He has played 1,060 games in the outfield.

Blast from the past

Two former Orioles were named Minor League Pitcher of the Week in their respective leagues. Bob Milacki of the Omaha Royals won the award in the Triple-A American Association. Anthony Telford of the Canton-Akron Indians won the award in the Double-A Eastern League.

Around the horn

Regan said Sid Fernandez will make another start Friday for Double-A Bowie. The Orioles would like to see Fernandez, who was eligible to come off the disabled list yesterday, pitch into the seventh inning before bringing him back to the majors. . . . Kimera Bartee, a well-regarded center-field prospect at Bowie, watched last night's game from the press box. Bartee broke his hand on June 7.

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