NEW YORK - Orioles outfielder Melvin Mora and reliever Willis Roberts expect to learn today whether their suspensions have been upheld or reduced from a July 28 bench-clearing brawl in Boston.
Both players spent part of yesterday afternoon appealing their suspensions - Roberts for seven days and Mora for four - at the Major League Baseball offices on Park Avenue. Bob DuPuy, president/chief operating officer of MLB, heard the appeals.
"He let me talk and explain how I feel," said Mora, who was punished for throwing a punch at Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. "He didn't see anything I did wrong. He was trying to find where I was on the video."
Mora claimed that Varitek instigated their fight after pushing aside Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe, who nailed Gary Matthews in retaliation for Scott Erickson hitting Manny Ramirez the previous inning.
"He came toward me and said, 'What the [expletive] are you looking at?' I asked [DuPuy], 'What do you do in that situation?' " said Mora, who also was fined $1,500.
As proof that he doesn't seek confrontations on the field, Mora cited the 20 times he has been hit this season without a skirmish.
"In Texas, they threw behind my head twice and I just walked to the dugout," he said. "I don't like to fight."
Roberts was suspended for taunting a group of Boston players - gesturing at them while holding a ball in his right hand - and making contact with umpire Laz Diaz.
"I think they'll reduce it to a couple days, maybe three," he said.
Though his expanded roster is better prepared for losing both players, manager Mike Hargrove said the club still would be affected if Mora and Roberts are missing.
"You're taking one of our best relievers and our leadoff hitter," he said. "It's easier to cover for them, but as far as quality is concerned, those guys do what they do for a reason."
Perez out for rest of season
A day after adding two players to their roster, the Orioles have lost left-handed reliever Yorkis Perez for the remainder of the season.
Perez left Wednesday's game in the early innings and underwent an appendectomy at 6 a.m. yesterday. He's expected to remain at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital for at least one more day.
Perez had a 3.29 ERA and one save in 27 1/3 innings.
Mike Bordick didn't make an error last night and tied Cal Ripken's American League record for consecutive errorless games by a shortstop at 95. The New York Mets' Rey Ordonez holds the major-league record with 101.
Bordick already broke Ripken's major-league record for consecutive errorless chances at shortstop on Aug. 25. With four more errorless chances last night, he ran his total to 482.
The Yankees observed a moment of silence last night for John Unitas, who died Wednesday of a heart attack.
Though he played a different sport, the venue seemed like a fitting place to honor Unitas, who led the Colts to their first championship in 1958 with a 23-17 overtime victory over the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium. It became known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard worked behind the microphone for the championship game. He said Unitas was "regarded by many as the greatest quarterback of all time."
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said he met Unitas while playing in golf tournaments over the years. "He was a nice man, a really nice man," Hargrove said.
Around the horn
Jose Leon made his first major-league start in left field, providing an extra right-handed bat for the lineup and allowing Marty Cordova to serve as the designated hitter and rest his sore right foot. ... Calvin Maduro threw in the bullpen yesterday, but the Orioles aren't expected to activate him. "He hasn't pitched since May. I don't know that we should [activate him]," Hargrove said. ... Jason Giambi left the game in the fifth inning with a bruised right wrist. He was hit by a Sean Douglass pitch in the first inning, but X-rays were negative.