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Matos set to begin rehab with Bowie as DH today


CINCINNATI - Center fielder Luis Matos will join Double-A Bowie today as part of an injury rehabilitation assignment that might last only a few days before he returns to the Orioles' lineup.

Matos will meet the Baysox in Trenton, N.J., where he's expected to be the designated hitter for at least one game.

Out since May 10 with a broken right ring finger, Matos has proven to be as fast a healer as he is a base runner. He's ahead of schedule, but the Orioles need him to test his arm in the outfield before he's activated from the disabled list.

"We'll see where he's at in a few days," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "When you don't throw for a month, it takes a few weeks to break all those adhesions. But it's nothing to be concerned about by any stretch."

Meanwhile, it's likely that Larry Bigbie will come off the disabled list in time for tonight's game against the Houston Astros at Camden Yards.

Bigbie, who's been on the DL since May 28 with a strained left hamstring, remains on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Ottawa. He went 2-for-5 Saturday with a double and a home run.

"He ran very well, so the reports are good," Mazzilli said.

The Orioles are expected to option outfielder Ramon Nivar to Ottawa once Bigbie rejoins the 25-man roster. His right-handed bat became expendable last week after the team acquired Eli Marrero from the Kansas City Royals. Marrero started in center field Saturday and moved to left yesterday.

Gibbons getting better

Jay Gibbons remained out of the lineup yesterday with an upset stomach, marking the third straight game that's began with him on the bench, but his condition seems to be improving.

"There's a big difference today than it was the last two days," Mazzilli said. "It's not something that's contagious. It's something that he ate."

Gibbons most likely would have sat out Saturday's game against Cincinnati Reds left-hander Brandon Claussen. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter yesterday.

Bullpen life for Baldwin

Though the vast majority of his appearances in the majors have come as a starter, James Baldwin seems to be adapting to bullpen life. It's treating him kindly.

Baldwin registered three perfect innings Saturday and worked a scoreless eighth yesterday. He's retired 22 of 25 batters and hasn't allowed a run in five games.

"He's done a great job," Mazzilli said. "The thing with him is, he can sit for 10 days and come in there and do the job, give you innings. He's good for the club, a veteran with experience."

Before this season, 202 of Baldwin's 238 major league appearances came in some team's rotation.

"Going from a starter to a long man, you know you're going to pitch multiple innings," Mazzilli said. "You're not looking for him to strike out every hitter. I like his experience. He doesn't give in to hitters. He obviously has an idea what he wants to do."

Warm-up no indication

Pitching coach Ray Miller noticed that Daniel Cabrera had good stuff while warming in the bullpen before Saturday's start. He also knew it meant nothing.

"The manager always asks me, 'How did he throw in the bullpen?' And I say, 'It doesn't matter.' I've seen them warm up great, like he did, and they don't have anything, and I've seen them warm up with nothing and they throw a shutout," Miller said.

Cabrera didn't record an out in the third before leaving the game with the Reds leading 7-0.

"He just didn't have it. He was kind of dead last night," Miller said. "That happens to everybody, like one out of five [starts]."

Around the horn

The Orioles have scheduled a physical examination and news conference today for catcher Brandon Snyder, the 13th overall pick in the amateur draft. Snyder agreed to terms on a signing bonus worth around $1.6 million. ... The Orioles still intend to give the Chicago Cubs another minor league player as part of the Sammy Sosa trade after pitcher David Crouthers failed to report. Crouthers has left baseball and is receiving treatment for an anxiety disorder. "We don't have any obligation to do that ... " said Ed Kenney, director of baseball administration. "It's just a good-faith gesture."

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