Manager Phil Regan isn't entering the Baltimore mayoral race anytime soon. And it's a good thing.
Regan suggested before yesterday's game that Cal Ripken should take a day off.
"I think probably a lot of people will disagree with me," Regan said. "I think as Cal goes on, it would help him to take a day off. Not before the 6th, though."
The decision will most likely be Ripken's. Although Regan makes out the lineup card, Ripken has a lot of input in when he does or doesn't play.
"I've asked him to come out of games," Regan said. "He said, 'Do you feel comfortable with the lead?' He likes to be out there when we win. He likes to shake hands."
Playoff start for McDonald
Ben McDonald is scheduled to start Thursday with Rochester in the International League playoffs.
Regan, who considered sending McDonald to the instructional league in Florida, said his No. 2 starter needs one more outing before he returns to Baltimore.
"I don't think he's ready to pitch here with the performance he had the other day," Regan said. "I don't think he's sharp enough."
McDonald, who threw 63 pitches in 3 2/3 innings Friday for Triple-A Rochester, will throw between 80 and 85 pitches Thursday.
Hammonds returning, in pinch
Jeffrey Hammonds reacted with tempered enthusiasm to his return to the active roster yesterday. Hammonds, who had been on the disabled list since July 18 with a strained trapezius muscle in his right shoulder, will be used only as a pinch runner.
"They wouldn't have me out there if it was going to hurt me," Hammonds said. "It I can help the ballclub in any way, so be it."
Fellow outfielder Curtis Goodwin, who was placed on the DL retroactive to Aug. 20 with a smashed finger, will be activated today, also as a pinch runner.
Unlike Hammonds, Goodwin has started hitting and may be back in the outfield soon.
The team's other newcomer, reliever Mike Hartley, made his first appearance, with mixed results.
He allowed four hits and one run in two innings. Hartley departed after giving up a leadoff double to Edgar Martinez, who eventually scored, in the seventh.
Regan, in his season-long quest to find someone to replace injured Mark Eichhorn, envisions Hartley as a sixth- and seventh-inning reliever.
"He could pitch a lot," Regan said. "He's got a 84-85-86 mile-per-hour fastball on the slow gun, a good slider, and a great split finger."
The Orioles held their annual Family Day yesterday, with sons and daughters running around the field with their mothers and baseball-playing fathers. . . . Seattle won the season series 7-6, its first over the Orioles since 1991.