BOSTON - The calendar changed from April to May yesterday, and Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick couldn't wait to turn the page.
Bordick hit .137 during April, giving him the worst first month of his career.
Over the years, Bordick has had good Aprils and bad Aprils, so he doesn't fit into a category of slow starter or fast starter. He hit .352 with 29 RBIs the first month of 2000, but in 1997, the year he replaced Cal Ripken as the Orioles' shortstop, he began the season hitting .179.
"I've never really had one [April] that's normal," said Bordick, whose career average for the month stands at .256. "All I know is I enjoy the good ones better than the bad ones."
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove continues to give Bordick opportunities to break out of his slump, starting him in 23 of the team's first 27 games.
Hargrove had planned to give Bordick an occasional day off to rest his surgically repaired right shoulder, and so far he hasn't deviated from that course.
"Mike is still a very good major-league player," Hargrove said. "He is going to play. He is our shortstop. ... You see better swings out of him all the time. Sometimes it takes longer with some people than others."
Bordick, who was 1-for-3 last night, said he has checked videotapes from when he was hitting better, and he hasn't noticed anything drastically wrong with his swing.
Defensively, Bordick has been his usual steady self, making just one error. Besides having Melvin Mora or Mike Moriarty play the occasional game at shortstop, the Orioles haven't made any long-term contingency plans.
They need look no further than last year to know how valuable he is, when they were 27-31 with Bordick in the lineup and 36-67 when he was out.
"Hopefully [Hargrove] doesn't lose patience in me," Bordick said. "It's a tough thing for managers, and you want to play well for him."
The Orioles were shut out four times during April, which tied them with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second most in the majors. Tonight's opponent, the Kansas City Royals, was the only team blanked five times during the season's first month.
Three of the Orioles' shutouts came against the Boston Red Sox, who have won five shutouts.
Last season, the Orioles were shut out 14 times, the most in the American League.
More April numbers
Tony Batista had 24 RBIs and nine doubles in April, the second-highest April totals in team history. Bordick had 29 RBIs in April 2000, and Ripken had 10 doubles in April 1996. Brady Anderson and Roberto Alomar also had nine doubles during April, in 1989 and 1996, respectively.
Mora drew 20 walks in April, two shy of the team record shared by Rafael Palmeiro (1998) and Albert Belle (1999).
The Red Sox honored pitcher Derek Lowe before last night's game for pitching a no-hitter Saturday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Larry Lucchino, former Orioles president and current president of the Red Sox, presented Lowe with the actual pitching rubber he used during the game.
Around the horn
Hargrove gave Mora the day off to recover from a head cold. Mora is 0-for-6 against Pedro Martinez. "I looked at the numbers," Hargrove said, "and figured it was a good night to give him off." ... Catcher Geronimo Gil missed his second straight game with a strained left groin and strained right hamstring. Gil did some light running, but it's still possible he'll wind up on the disabled list. Replacement Brook Fordyce went 0-for-4 and is hitting .038.
Bordick in April
Year AB H Avg.
1990 6 0 .000
1992 76 27 .355
1993 55 13 .236
1994 82 21 .256
1995 17 5 .294
1996 77 23 .299
1997 78 14 .179
1998 66 14 .212
1999 89 24 .270
2000 88 31 .352
2001 100 26 .260
2002 73 10 .137