Hoiles hobbles on to DL rather than risk reinjury


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Catcher Chris Hoiles didn't want to go on the disabled list, so on Saturday night, he asked the Orioles to give him a little more time to wait and see if his hamstring trouble was temporary.

But yesterday, his left hamstring still bothered him, and Hoiles was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Rookie Greg Zaun becomes the everyday catcher, and rookie Cesar Devarez will be the backup.

"I'd rather miss two weeks now," Hoiles said, "than miss the pennant race. . . . They said they wanted to make sure it's 100 percent healed."

Hoiles strained his hamstring after hitting what probably would have been a double on Saturday night, the injury right in the middle of the back of his thigh. The timing could not be worse for the Orioles -- who need run production -- or for Hoiles, who has improved his average some 38 points since June 29.

"This is definitely frustrating," Hoiles said. "This has been a tough season for me, and I felt like I was just starting to break out, and something like this happens. It's tough to take."

Manager Phil Regan said: "It's tough to take because you don't want to lose him when he's starting to swing the bat well. It's tough to take because you lose an experienced catcher, and now we don't have one.

"But I'd rather have him out 10 days to two weeks than six weeks."

Regan said it's quite possible Hoiles will be ready to play before he's eligible to come off the disabled list, on July 31. He said Hoiles may go to the minors on a rehab assignment to get some at-bats before being activated.

Zaun excited by shot

Zaun says he's ready for this, his first shot to be an everyday catcher in the majors. "I feel bad for Hoiles," said Zaun, "but at the same time, it's an opportunity for me. . . . That's exciting. That makes me feel great, that he [Regan] has that kind of confidence in me. Hopefully, I'll help us win some ballgames."

This is the first time in Zaun's career that he has been a full-time backup, and he's had a hard time harnessing all of his nervous energy. "I'm sure a lot of guys in the dugout couldn't wait for the fifth inning," Zaun said, "because that's when I got to the bullpen. [Hitting coach] Lee May once said, 'Isn't it about time you leave?'

"I probably walk back and forth between the clubhouse and the dugout seven or eight times in the first five innings."

McLemore tips hat to Ripken

Former Orioles utility man Mark McLemore shakes his head at the exploits of his former double-play partner, Cal Ripken.

"A lot of players have done a lot of great things," McLemore said, "but to be a middle infielder and playing 13 years straight, every day -- not just playing, but performing -- and putting up the numbers he's put up. . . . It's mind-boggling. I don't understand it. There's no explanation."

From best to worst

Ripken finished with the AL's top batting average for last week (8-for-15, .533) while his Texas counterpart at shortstop, Benji Gil, was worst, going 0-for-12.

Oquist hits Tettleton

The Rangers' Mickey Tettleton, pinch-hitting in the 12th inning, was hit on his right hand or wrist by a pitch from Mike Oquist. X-rays showed only a bruise. Tettleton didn't start the game because of a strained left rib-cage muscle.

Regan knocks 4-man rotation

Other AL teams are going to a four-man rotation, but Regan will have none of it. "If your guys are used to it," he said, "you should go ahead and do it. [But] if you start doing it in July, maybe when September rolls around they may get tired."

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