Karen Moyer working on her delivery


TORONTO -- Jamie Moyer has booked three flights back to Baltimore today. Two of them for the evening, after his scheduled start against the Blue Jays.

And one for this morning, in case his third child makes a rapid and unscheduled start on life. Karen Moyer, his wife, is due to give birth to a girl any day now. Any moment, really.

Orioles manager Phil Regan told Moyer yesterday that if his wife goes into labor, he should return to Baltimore to be with her, adding that he would find somebody else to start against the Blue Jays.

"I'm not a doctor," Moyer said, "but I'd say [the birth] will be by Monday, if not before . . . If she goes into labor, I'll be gone."

Moyer nearly left yesterday. Late Thursday night, Karen Moyer began having contractions, the time between them growing shorter and shorter. She went to the hospital, and Moyer planned to leave here in the morning. But at around 2 a.m., Karen Moyer went back home. False alarm.

"She's just trying to sit down and relax right now," said Moyer.

The Moyers already have two boys, both born in the middle of the baseball season.

"You think we would've learned by now," he said, smiling. "But that's just the way it works out."

His second son, Hutton Scott, was born in 1993, shortly after Moyer pitched for Triple-A Rochester. He finished his game, he and Karen returned to their apartment to pick up some clothes, and they went to the hospital; she had Hutton the next morning.

"You go through this for nine months -- she does all the work," Moyer said. "You'd like to be there for the end."

Harris needs surgery

Dr. James Andrews, one of the foremost sports medicine physicians, said Orioles reliever Gene Harris has a severe tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Loosely translated, Harris blew out his elbow and, although Orioles general manager Roland Hemond suggested one possible treatment is rest, Harris faces reconstructive surgery that would end his season.

The Orioles acquired Harris from the Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Andy Van Slyke on June 18, and after making his third appearance for the Orioles on June 24 and throwing his fastball in the mid-90s, Harris complained of a sore elbow. Andrews indicated that Harris' torn ligament had worsened since last fall, when Andrews told Harris he had a partial tear.

"I'm disappointed," said Regan, "but I think he could've helped us. He was pitching pretty well."

A source says another baseball executive warned Hemond against acquiring Harris shortly before the deal was made, because of his medical history.

Regan had hoped Harris could become his dependable, right-handed middle reliever, pitching in the sixth and seventh innings. Now, Regan said, he hopes somebody takes that job, whether it be Armando Benitez, or Alan Mills, if the latter pitches his way back from Triple-A.

Trading up?

Regan said that if the Orioles have a chance to make a run at the AL East title, he'd like to bolster the team with trades.

"If after the All-Star break we start getting close, and we've got a chance to win," Regan said, "we've got to try to win. I don't think every year you have that chance. If you have that chance, you've got to try.

"Most clubs do that. Toronto adds players. The Yankees used to always add players to help them win, some key players. If I've got a chance to win, I want to win."

Orioles officials discussed internally yesterday the possibility of pursuing those Toronto Blue Jays who are being shopped around -- pitcher David Cone, second baseman Roberto Alomar, et al -- but haven't made any overtures to Toronto GM Gord Ash.

Starting switch

The Blue Jays will start right-hander Woody Williams in tomorrow's game instead of Danny Darwin, who has been moved to the bullpen after 11 starts. Darwin is 1-8 with a 7.44 ERA, having allowed 83 hits in 61 2/3 innings.

Williams (0-2, 3.86) has been used in middle relief this season, allowing 32 walks in 39 2/3 innings over 20 games. Opponents are batting .235 against him.

Around the horn

The Orioles are 8-2 in games in which Curtis Goodwin steals a base. He didn't have one last night. . . . The Orioles fell to 3-1 in games started by Greg Zaun. . . . Shortstop Cal Ripken needs four runs to pass Brooks Robinson for most runs scored in Orioles history. . . . Kevin Bass is hitting .378 in his past 33 games (34-for-90).

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