Regan keeps tinkering with club


TORONTO -- Orioles manager Phil Regan must have been a mechanic in a previous life, because he never stops tinkering. Either that, or he's running a team that is fighting to stay within range of the first-place Boston Red Sox.

* He implemented one major change yesterday, telling left-hander Sid Fernandez that he is being bounced from the rotation into the bullpen. Scott Klingenbeck will get back the job he held before Fernandez came off the disabled list Thursday to get pummeled by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Regan's reasoning for moving Fernandez out of the rotation is simple: The left-hander has been awful (0-4, 7.67), and the Orioles are going through a time, without the injured Ben McDonald or Kevin Brown, when they can't afford to have a starting pitcher get blasted. Klingenbeck won't necessarily pitch shutout, but he's a known quantity; when he goes to the mound, Regan feels reasonably secure that he will pitch five or six innings and at least give the Orioles a chance.

Klingenbeck has pitched into the sixth in three of his first four starts, and has two wins. Fernandez, on the other hand, has pitched into the sixth inning only once in his first seven starts.

* Regan acknowledged that he's determining his starting catcher on a day-by-day basis. In other words, slumping Chris Hoiles shares the position with Greg Zaun.

Hoiles was batting .171 and had one RBI in his past 14 games before last night. He struck out three times in four at-bats against Toronto's Juan Guzman Thursday night. Zaun started for the fourth time in six games last night.

But Regan said he was encouraged by Hoiles' batting practice yesterday, and Hoiles responded with a game-tying pinch homer in the eighth inning.

"That's the best he's swung in a month," Regan said of Hoiles' batting practice swings. "He stayed on the ball, tried hitting the ball away instead of taking that uppercut swing and hitting a soft fly ball. He feels good, but it's hard for him to carry it into a game. That's where his struggle is. He gets into a game and he reverts back to his habits."

Hoiles said: "I'm dealing with [the slump]. I don't like it. I've never had to deal with anything like this before. I'm trying to stay as positive as I can."

* Regan asked Jeff Huson if he could play third base, meaning that Huson could be starting there -- rather than Leo Gomez -- until Jeff Manto comes back from a pulled hamstring.

A week ago, Regan had said that Huson, who doesn't have a great arm, probably would never start at third.

But Regan said he was "re-thinking" that -- and Gomez has something to do with that. In his first four starts since taking over for Manto, Gomez was 1-for-12, lowering his average from .231 to .208.

Huson is a left-handed hitter who runs well, so logically, his start would come against a right-handed pitcher. He's played short and second for most of his career, but has a handful of appearances at third. "I'm game for anything," Huson said.

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