Eligible Amaral not ready to leave DL


Though eligible to come off the disabled list yesterday, Orioles outfielder Rich Amaral apparently will remain off the 25-man roster for a few more days while continuing to test his injured left calf with some pre-game running.

Amaral, who strained a muscle in his lower leg during a June 14 game against Texas, ran yesterday for the fourth straight day. He picked up the pace a little more and said he was satisfied with his progress but also understands why the club is being cautious.

"It's going great. I'm very happy with it, but it's one of those things where you never know. When you deal with hamstrings and calves, you've got to be real careful," he said.

"I know it's going to be longer, but hopefully not too much longer."

Manager Mike Hargrove estimated that Amaral, who's batting .217 in 30 games, won't be activated for another three to five days. But he stressed there was flexibility in those numbers.

"Maybe sooner than that, maybe not that soon. I think it's a fairly legitimate guess," he said.

As long as Amaral stays on the disabled list, Luis Matos stays in the majors.

Matos, 21, made his first appearance at Camden Yards as an official member of the Orioles yesterday. He had a brief stop here last season when allowed to join the team for its exhibition game against Triple-A Rochester. He arrived here before heading north for the game, never getting the chance to step on the field.

"I've been in the clubhouse before, so I'm not lost," said Matos, who finished the game in right field.

Matos was recalled from Double-A Bowie when Amaral went on the DL. The Orioles were in Oakland for the start of a 10-game road trip, so his first tour of the majors consisted of visits to Network Associates Coliseum, Safeco Field and Fenway Park.

"It's strange when they call you up and they're already on the road," he said.

Second opinion for Maduro

If Calvin Maduro pitches again this season, it probably won't be until September after magnetic resonance imaging in Baltimore last week revealed a small ligament tear in his right elbow.

Maduro was examined by team orthopedic specialist Dr. Michael Jacobs upon returning to the disabled list on June 22, two days after being activated while the club was in Oakland. X-rays taken during his first stint on the DL didn't reveal the tear.

A rest period of six to eight weeks has been prescribed for Maduro. He has an appointment with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday to get a second opinion.

So far, Maduro said there's been no talk of surgery, though that could change.

"I have no idea when this happened. In a way it's kind of scary because I've never been in this situation before," he said. "I don't know what to expect. I'm going to talk to some guys who have had it [the ligament tear] in the past and see what their experiences were."

Maduro said he might call former Orioles pitcher Armando Benitez, who had a similar injury in 1996 and didn't need surgery. Scott Erickson, whose locker is just a few spaces down from Maduro's, dealt with the same problem last year and could be a source of information.

"I've been told it would heal up with time," said Maduro. "That's the only method. You can't go in there and do something about it."

Having spent all last season in the minors, he doesn't want his final appearance this year to be June 21 in Oakland

"I've still got to pitch this year. I've still got a lot to prove," he said.

Numbers game

He remained winless after the bullpen failed to hold his lead on Wednesday, but this hasn't been such a bad week for Jason Johnson.

He lost a potential victory, but he also shed an earned run and a blown save in the past two days.

A scoring change from Wednesday's game in Boston credits Johnson with only two earned runs allowed in the third inning, when the Orioles committed two errors. Initially, all three runs off Johnson had been earned.

And after another exchange yesterday between Orioles public relations director Bill Stetka and Major League Baseball, the bullpen's blown saves total has been corrected to 19.

MLB's Web site had credited the Orioles with an extra blown save, off a June 14 game at Camden Yards when Johnson replaced starter Pat Rapp in the fourth inning and became the pitcher of record. Stetka traced the discrepancy to that game, setting the wheels in motion.

M&M; roller coaster

Ryan Minor has ridden his share of minor-league shuttles, going from Triple-A Rochester to Baltimore and back again. His arrival in Boston on Wednesday marked his second tour with the Orioles this season, but he's got nothing on Gabe Molina.

The reliever has been with the big-league club four times this season, once being recalled only two days after being optioned. And Molina's bags were packed again on Thursday, with his destination Baltimore to gather some more belongings before joining the Red Wings in Scranton, Pa.

For anyone keeping score at home, that's seven call-ups for Molina in the last two seasons. His four trips this year match his number of games he's entered.

His status as a road warrior has become a source of humor for Minor and Molina. "Gabe's been up and down so many times he doesn't know where he is," Minor said. "I'll call him and ask, 'Where are you?' And he'll go, 'I don't know.' "

Minor appeared in his ninth game last night, starting again at third base. He singled in three at-bats to raise his average to .238. It was his 64th game with the Orioles spanning three seasons.

"I think any time young guys are called up, it's obviously best that they show something," said Hargrove. "The more times you're called up, it becomes a little more important each time. I'm not saying this is make-or-break time for Ryan, but he needs to show us something."

Around the horn

Cal Ripken was a no-show at Camden Yards yesterday, and Hargrove said he hadn't received any updates on the third baseman's physical condition. Ripken received a second cortisone injection on Wednesday to combat pain in his lower back and a burning sensation down his left leg caused by a disc fragment pressing against a nerve. ... Toronto's Carlos Delgado was 0-for-4, ending his 22-game hitting streak.

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