Returning Manto says he's 'fine'


The Orioles continue to mend by the day. Jeff Manto, who surprised many with his 12 homers and 30 RBIs in the first half, was taken off the 15-day disabled list before last night's game.

"I feel fine," Manto said. "I have no pain when I run. I think if anything, it's going to be more of a mental than a physical adjustment. I just need to get some quality at-bats, and hopefully everything will fall in line like it did in the first half."

The decision to activate Manto was made after assistant general manager Frank Robinson watched him sprint yesterday afternoon.

"I was looking to see if he was running naturally -- and he was," Robinson said. "There was no hesitation in his stride and I didn't see anything that would hold him back."

Manto, who was on the DL with a strained left hamstring, will be in the starting lineup today, after playing one game with the Bowie Baysox, and two with Frederick.

The Orioles roster is now at 25, and Manto will fill the spot vacated by the recently released Sid Fernandez, who was signed by the Phillies yesterday and is scheduled to start for Philadelphia on Sunday.

With Ben McDonald coming off the DL today, and Kevin Brown scheduled to start on Monday, the Orioles are expected to send down reliever Joe Borowski and perhaps one other pitcher.

Royals put Haney on DL

The Kansas City Royals made some moves of their own yesterday. Infielder Greg Gagne was taken off the disabled list and starting pitcher Chris Haney was placed on it. Haney had been scheduled to start Sunday at Camden Yards, and the Royals have not yet named a replacement. Kansas City also placed infielder Chico Lind on waivers.

Eichhorn gives arm first test

Reliever Mark Eichhorn threw for the first time this year on Wednesday, but he is still a long way from returning to the Orioles bullpen.

"I just threw lightly on the side for five minutes," said Eichhorn, who had a slightly torn right rotator cuff surgically repaired on Feb. 8. "I guess I'll do that for a while, build up to the bullpen and then I guess I'll get sent on a rehab assignment."

None of that will be any time soon. Orioles manager Phil Regan said there is no timetable set for Eichhorn's recovery, but he may be back in the majors in September. Regan said Eichhorn will be a prime candidate for winter ball.

"If [Eichhorn] comes back at all this year for us, it will be a bonus," Regan said.

Palmeiro backs AL choice

Rafael Palmeiro was in Texas for the All-Star Game, but he wasn't at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Palmeiro, who lives in Texas, was contacted by American League officials after Sunday's game in Chicago, when AL first baseman Mark McGwire was taken off the All-Star roster due to a concussion. However, Seattle's Tino Martinez was selected to replace McGwire.

"They told me to stick around, but inside I knew Tino would be picked," said Palmeiro, who broke out of an 0-for-25 drought with an RBI double and two-run homer last night. "I thought he deserved it more than me."

Zaun enjoys 'goofy' uncle on TV

Catcher Greg Zaun had his eyes fixed on the bullpen during the All-Star telecast. Not because he was trying to pick up pointers, but to get a good look at his uncle, former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey, who worked the game for ABC.

Dempsey had his nephew rolling during his interviews from the bullpen, including one spot where Dempsey introduced Chicago Cubs reliever Randy Myers as "my man over here."

"He's such a goof," Zaun said. "Rick looked like he had fun, that's just him. He's a big ham, that's what he is. But levity is good. That's exactly what ABC expected when they signed him."

Goodwin, Hoiles look ahead

Orioles rookie outfielder Curtis Goodwin had a terrific first half, but he wasn't in Arlington either.

Besides playing an excellent center field, Goodwin also has reached the 49-hit mark faster than any rookie in Orioles history and is being looked at as a Rookie of the Year candidate.

"I don't know if my first half was luck or not, but if it was, I hope it doesn't stop," Goodwin said. "I just try to put on a good show every night, and if there's a halo over my head, I hope it stays there."

Chris Hoiles was Goodwin's opposite in the first half. Hoiles was expected to produce big numbers, but hit .208 with 27 RBIs. However, he did come into the break on a six-game hitting streak, going 10-for-21, and added an RBI double last night.

"I am starting to feel a lot better with that series in Chicago," Hoiles said. "But, one series doesn't make a season. All I can do is just keep going out there and hoping for the best."

Around the horn

The Orioles Wives Auction to benefit the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Baltimore Orioles Foundation will be held July 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Oriole Park.

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