Helling is shown door as DuBose gets shot to start

No longer willing to keep a rotation spot for a struggling veteran, the Orioles designated Rick Helling for assignment yesterday and purchased the contract of reliever John Parrish from Double-A Bowie.

Rookie Eric DuBose will replace Helling and start Tuesday against Tampa Bay at Camden Yards. Parrish becomes the third left-hander in the bullpen.


The Orioles have 10 days to trade or release Helling, who made the club out of spring training this year after signing a minor league contract. He was 7-8 with a 5.71 ERA in 24 starts.

As in past seasons, Helling was prone to giving up home runs - 30 for the season, including 10 in his last three appearances. He's allowed 238 in 255 games.


"That's been the knock on me my whole career," he said, "and will probably always be the knock on me until I'm done playing."

Helling, 32, began the season as the Orioles' No. 3 starter. He was released for the first time in 12 professional seasons, as the club decided to spend the last six weeks evaluating DuBose.

The Orioles might give some September starts to Rick Bauer and Kurt Ainsworth, who was acquired in the Sidney Ponson trade, and manager Mike Hargrove indicated he could go to a six-man rotation.

"Anytime this happens, it's disappointing, but there have been a lot of good pitchers and players who have been designated or released before and had the best years of their careers afterward," Helling said. "By no means do I look at this as the end of my career, but I wish I had pitched better. Regardless of the young guys, if I had pitched better, this probably wouldn't have happened."

Only Jason Johnson and Rodrigo Lopez remain in the rotation that opened the season. Ponson was dealt before the non-waiver deadline, and Omar Daal was demoted to the bullpen before going on the disabled list June 28 with left shoulder tendinitis.

The move with Helling "was pretty obvious," Hargrove said, "but that doesn't mean it was easy. Rick has had a long career, and a good career, and I think he'll continue to have that career with somebody. But with the situation we're in right now, it just makes more sense going to some of our younger pitchers."

Parrish went 3-3 with six saves and a 2.00 ERA in 49 games at Bowie. He spent parts of two seasons with the Orioles, going 3-6 with a 6.79 ERA in 24 games, but missed the 2002 season after tearing a ligament in his right knee. He later came off the 40-man roster.

Hargrove put Parrish right into the pressure cooker last night, calling him in to face Jason Giambi with two on in the eighth. He walked Giambi but struck out Bernie Williams to end the inning.


Hairston back at park

Jerry Hairston rejoined the Orioles yesterday, taking batting practice and fielding grounders for the first time since breaking a bone in his right foot during a May 20 game in Anaheim.

Hairston spent about seven weeks rehabbing at Athletes' Performance, a training facility in Tempe, Ariz. "My foot feels great," he said. "I'm just trying to get the ankle strong again."

Hairston is gearing toward an assignment in the minors, perhaps at Bowie, this month before returning to the Orioles.

"It feels great to be back because I really didn't feel like I was part of the team. I was always saying, 'How did they do tonight?' instead of 'How did we do?' It hurts a little bit," he said.

"We're a lot better than I thought. We're so close to winning, so I'm really excited. Hopefully I'll have a good month or six weeks and next year will be our year."


The Orioles must decide whether Hairston and Brian Roberts, who replaced him at second base, can start in the same lineup.

"Like I told Brian, it's not really up to us," Hairston said. "They have to decide what they want to do, whether it's putting him at short or whatever. My job is to get healthy as quick as I can, and when I get back, Grover makes out the lineup. But obviously I want to play."

Around the horn

Five Orioles minor leaguers will play for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League: catcher Eli Whiteside, first baseman Kris Wilken and pitchers Tim Corcoran and Rodney Ormond of Bowie, and infielder Pete Shier of Single-A Frederick. Bowie first baseman Doug Gredvig and outfielder B.J. Littleton and Frederick infielder Gary Cates are on the taxi squad. ... The next Orioles Wives silent auction takes place tomorrow on the lower concourse at Gate D. Items include a swimming lesson from Michael Phelps, a golf outing with Cal Ripken and B.J. Surhoff and an Eddie Murray autographed bat. The first auction raised more than $22,000 for Pathfinders for Autism.