The Orioles activated first baseman David Segui from the disabled list before last night's game. To make room, they optioned pitcher Josh Towers to Triple-A Rochester, where he'll re-enter the starting rotation after being used out of the bullpen since his promotion on April 28.
Segui was included in last night's lineup, batting sixth for the first time this season. He lined a two-run double into right-center field on the first pitch thrown to him, and continued to third on an error. He later walked with the bases loaded for a third RBI.
Segui hadn't played since April 22, when Tampa Bay shortstop Felix Martinez stepped on his left hand while turning a double play. Martinez's spikes sliced the tendon, which immobilized the middle finger.
"It's not 100 percent yet, but it's good enough to play," he said.
Segui went 7-for-12 in the Tampa Bay series before the injury, raising his average to .271. He led off each inning of the extended spring training games in Sarasota, Fla., last weekend to regain his timing, rather than come off the disabled list sooner. One of those at-bats produced a home run.
He still hasn't regained full strength in the hand, but retains enough to grip a bat. The injury's more restrictive when he's throwing.
"Once I start to play, I don't think about it. If it blows out, it blows out," he said.
Towers was 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in four relief appearances. His first major-league win came last Wednesday at Tampa, when he allowed two runs in three innings after replacing Sidney Ponson. In his last outing Saturday, he allowed a three-run homer to New York's Derek Jeter that broke a 5-5 tie.
"I don't think any of us think of Josh as a bullpen guy right now in his career," manager Mike Hargrove said of Towers, who was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts at Rochester. "It may very well be that's what he turns out to be, but we still think he has value as a starter.
"He's got the mental agility to be able to do both jobs, as he really proved while he was here. He commands his fastball very well and throws strikes, and we don't want him to sit here and pitch once every four or five days as a long or middle guy."
The Orioles kept reliever Chad Paronto, who threw three shutout innings last night after allowing five unearned runs and five hits in the eighth inning of Friday's game in New York. He had two losses and a blown save in his three previous appearances.
"I kind of figured this would happen," Towers said. "I threw OK, but being the newest guy coming up and I'm traditionally a starter, and that's what they want me to be, if they're going to send somebody down, it may as well be me so I can get my innings.
"It helps coming up here and mingling with the guys and learning the ropes. I got my first couple appearances out of the way, and after that there were no more jitters or nervousness."
Conine plays, Kinkade sits
The Orioles' latest lineup, the 36th different one used by Hargrove in 39 games, again excluded Mike Kinkade, who's made only one start since May 5.
Kinkade said his sprained ankle has healed - he was used as a pinch runner on Sunday - but he remained on the bench while Jeff Conine started at third base. Kinkade appeared in all three games in New York, hitting his first American League home run Friday and a run-scoring single Sunday.
"You show up every day ready to play and hoping you're in there. That's kind of my role," said Kinkade, who had a pinch single in the eighth inning last night.
Hargrove indicated three weeks ago that Kinkade's playing time would increase as the club continued to evaluate him. Kinkade has responded by going 5-for-32 in his past 11 games, lowering his average to .258.
"I know the situation I'm in. Anytime I'm in the lineup, I'll be ready to play," he said.
Anderson moves to left
Brady Anderson began last night's first-inning rally with a leadoff walk and stolen base.
Anderson made his third start in left field, with Delino DeShields going to the bench. Most of his starts have come in right, where he misplayed two balls Friday.
He went 0-for-2 with three walks last night. An 11-for-69 stretch over 17 games has lowered Anderson's average to .183. It hasn't been above .205.
"I think as with most veteran players who have a track record, given time and patience, Brady will end up having a good year," Hargrove said. "But having said that, there's a point and time when you have to start realizing maybe it's one of those years and look at other avenues to get production out of that position.
"I don't think we've reached that point with Brady. ... I think there's still time for Brady to turn this around and have a good year.
"It certainly isn't due to a lack of hard work. He works very hard at it. He's in great shape and still runs very well. He's a strong guy. He may be a little hard-headed at times, but I think we all are in this business if we believe in ourselves."
Tigers coach hospitalized
Tigers bullpen coach Ed Ott was admitted to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday after complaining of chest pains. An EKG showed no damage, and Ott was listed in good condition. He remained there overnight as a precaution and was to be released today.
Ott, a catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates' 1979 team that defeated the Orioles in the World Series, had arrived early at the ballpark and went to the hospital before manager Phil Garner and most of the team had gotten there.
"He had a difficult time with chest pains last night," said Garner, a former Pirates teammate who had dinner with Ott during the evening. "True to his nature, he didn't tell anybody until today. He stayed up all night and fought it."
Ott had a similar episode during spring training.