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Half a season later, Hairston back

Three days past the date for expanding their rosters, the Orioles finally gave manager Mike Hargrove an extra player by activating second baseman Jerry Hairston from the 60-day disabled list.

Hairston had been unavailable since breaking a bone in his right foot during a May 20 game in Anaheim. The injury occurred as he stumbled across the plate during an at-bat.

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Hairston completed an eight-game minor league rehabilitation assignment Wednesday at short-season Single-A Aberdeen, going 7-for-23 with a double, home run, two RBIs, three walks and a stolen base.

"I feel pretty good," he said, "and hopefully I'll just carry it over here."

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Hairston spent two games with Aberdeen after Double-A Bowie's season ended, rather than returning to the Orioles with outfielder Melvin Mora.

"I hadn't played in three months," Hairston said. "It's kind of like the offseason. I wanted to have as many games as possible and have an accelerated spring training."

Hairston said the bone is completely healed and that there's no danger of reinjuring it.

"I know I'm not going to re-break it because I have a rod in there. "I saw the X-rays, and that bone is 100 percent," he said.

"Right now there's just some soreness, and getting adjusted to cleats again. Every year, the first week or two of spring training, both of my feet get really sore from cleats, and I'm still going through that right now."

The only issue for Hairston is the weakness in his ankle.

"Being in that boot for so long, that atrophy starts to set in," he said. "Getting the strength back has probably been the biggest challenge for me. I knew this was going to happen."

Brian Roberts started at second base yesterday, but he could share the position with Hairston. He also could move over to shortstop, though Hargrove said there are no plans to put either player there "on a regular basis."

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"I'm just here," Roberts said. "I'll look at the lineup and be ready to play. Wherever they put my name on that board is fine with me."

Before going 2-for-5 with two RBIs yesterday, Roberts was 8-for-41 in his past 10 games. He has appeared in 90 of 93 games since his recall from Triple-A Ottawa.

Asked whether he's tired, Roberts said: "It's September. Everybody's tired. That's part of it. There are days where you feel better than others. If they want me in there, I'm ready to go."

Lopez pitch to be reviewed

A spokesman for Major League Baseball confirmed yesterday that the office will consider penalties against pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, who admitted that he threw at Oakland Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada during Wednesday's game.

Lopez was retaliating after Tim Hudson drilled Melvin Mora in the first inning. Lopez aimed at Tejada's legs and missed, and plate umpire Scott Nelson warned both benches.

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Hudson denied that he threw at Mora, but Lopez took full responsibility for his actions. "I was trying to send a message," he said.

Bob Watson, MLB's vice president of on-field operations, will determine whether Lopez is fined or suspended. Since Lopez didn't aim at Tejada's head, he could escape punishment.

"It's too early to tell if anything will come of it," said league spokesman Matt Gould, "but Bob Watson's office definitely will look into it."

Bauer may be ready tonight

The Orioles are hoping to have reliever Rick Bauer available tonight when they begin a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners.

Bauer hasn't pitched since Saturday because of soreness in his right shoulder and arm. He said the discomfort surfaced in Oakland last week.

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"There's nothing to worry about," he said. "It's just a little tight, so there's no reason to rush back. Maybe in a day or two I'll be ready to rock."

Bauer appeared in three games over four days. He threw 1 1/3 innings and two innings in consecutive appearances in Oakland, and one-third of an inning in Seattle after being idle the previous game. He needed 36 pitches to get one out, allowing six runs (one earned).

DuBose still on target

Hargrove said he still expects Eric DuBose to make tomorrow night's start. DuBose, who took a one-hit bid into the ninth inning last Friday in Seattle, was bumped back two days because of back stiffness.


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