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Late August return likely for McDonald

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The latest examination of Ben McDonald's pitching shoulder confirmed what he already knew -- that he has tendinitis and will be out until at least late August.

McDonald, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, was examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum in California yesterday, after an original consultation with Dr. Thomas Andrews in Washington. McDonald will not pick a ball up for 10 days, although Andrews recommended no throwing for two weeks.

Yocum "told me basically what everybody else told me," McDonald said. "We may be talking about coming back in September. A lot of that depends on where we are in the standings."

McDonald went on the DL June 22; he was activated July 14 but after only two starts was put back on the DL. McDonald said his shoulder is weak and yesterday he began his strengthening program. But, he might push himself back to the mound again before his arm is 100 percent.

"I imagine as usual I'll be back before I'm supposed to be," McDonald said. "I'll do what I can to come back as soon as I can.

"There's always that concern, but according to what I'm told by the doctors as of right now, I won't miss the whole season."

Up and down

The Orioles aren't done making moves. To make room for Bobby Bonilla, the team sent reliever Joe Borowski back to Triple-A Rochester.

Another move will have to be made today to make room for Rick Krivda, who will start in McDonald's place tonight. Mark Smith will likely be the choice to join Borowski in Rochester.

Borowski accepted his demotion calmly.

"I'm not disappointed at all," Borowski said. "I figured I'd be sent back down. At least they thought about using me once or twice. I know my time will come and I'll be up here to stay."

Hoiles close to return

The Orioles will have to make another move Monday, when catcher Chris Hoiles is scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Hoiles has built up his running routine each day this week and he took live batting practice for the first time yesterday.

"He ran the bases well and it looks like physically he'll be ready to come off the DL by Monday," Regan said. "Whether he's ready batting-wise, we have to see."

Hurry up already

Major League baseball instituted some rules to speed up games yesterday. The more notable alterations: With no one on base, a pitcher now has 12 seconds, instead of 20, to throw to a batter once he steps in the box; a manager must now signal a pitching change from the dugout steps; batters can only wander up to three feet from the box; and, half-innings are two minutes, five seconds long, down from 2 1/2 minutes.

"I think it'll maybe speed the game up a little bit," Regan said. "Personally, I don't watch my clock during the game. I don't think it's so much a time thing. It's more to keep the flow of the game and eliminate the dead spots."

Umpire Jim Evans met with the White Sox and Orioles before the game to explain the changes, which were not particularly well regarded by several Orioles.

"The people aren't complaining about the length of the games," first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. "It's not the fans and the players who are complaining, it's the guys who don't pay to come to the games -- the media."

Outfielder Kevin Bass agreed.

"Who is complaining about it?" Bass asked. "I think the media started it, the fans aren't complaining."

Bunting tips

Curtis Goodwin spent yesterday afternoon working with third base coach Steve Boros on bunting.

Goodwin was unable to put a bunt into play with a runner on first and no outs in Thursday's 2-1 loss to Texas.

Rangers closer Jeff Russell "just wasn't throwing strikes," Goodwin said. "Everything he threw was a ball. I couldn't get my bat on it."

Boros said the speedy Goodwin, who is in a 6-44 slump, is pressing and trying to jump out of the box before making solid contact.

"The key is to make the first step a slow one," Boros said. "He was fine early, but he's pressuring himself as a bunter and a hitter. We slowed him down. I was encouraged by what I saw."

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