Fan catches flak, too, from Newhan over grab


David Newhan watched countless replays of his near catch of Todd Helton's sixth-inning home run during the Orioles' 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday night and said they confirmed what he had suspected.

If not for Will Bogen, the 16-year-old fan who seemingly reached in front of Newhan's glove to snare the souvenir, the center fielder said he would have caught the ball.

"There's no doubt in my mind," he said.

Newhan also seemed annoyed by Bogen's comments in The Sun yesterday that the player "had no chance" on the ball.

"He's way off," Newhan said. "I guess he's not realizing there's better athletes out there that he is paying to watch. If you look at the video, my glove is right behind his and he comes right in front of me to get it. The unfortunate thing is I am throwing my body on the line and chancing injury to help my team win and you never even get a chance to make the play."

Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie said the play reminded him of the one that made Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman an infamous figure after the 2003 National League Championship Series.

Bartman reached for a foul ball that then-Cubs left fielder Moises Alou thought he had a play on, and Chicago wound up losing the game and the series to the Florida Marlins.

"The ball was about to hit [Bartman]," said Newhan, who was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa after last night's game to make room on the roster for center fielder Luis Matos. "This guy [Bogen] is not protecting himself. He's not doing anything but hurting our chances to make the playoffs or get to the World Series. ... That was the ballgame right there."

Reached yesterday, Bogen, a Jarrettsville resident, said: "It's not that which caused us to lose the game. It's that the team didn't play that well and now everybody wants to blame it on me. I was talking to [Orioles reliever] Steve Kline and [bullpen coach] Elrod Hendricks and they said it wasn't interference."

After watching replays, stadium officials ruled Bogen didn't interfere. But they moved him and his family to a different part of the stadium because they were taking verbal abuse.

Bogen said he had a relatively quiet day yesterday, receiving only calls from some family members, but he said he got some ribbing at hockey practice.

"We all had a good laugh about it," Bogen said.

Everyone but Newhan.

Grimsley impresses

Eight months removed from ligament-reconstruction surgery on his right elbow, Orioles reliever Jason Grimsley threw yesterday without pain for the first time since he was 20, by his own estimation.

"The last six or seven years there was always something," said Grimsley, 37, who had been expected to be out the entire season. "It got worse and worse, but you adjust and get used to it."

Manager Lee Mazzilli called Grimsley's bullpen session "outstanding."

The right-hander will continue to throw on the side for the Orioles before going out on a rehabilitation assignment. On Friday, executive vice president Jim Beattie said it likely will be a month before Grimsley is available in the bullpen.

However, after watching him yesterday, Mazzilli said Grimsley's return likely would be "sooner rather than later."

Said Grimsley: "I am going to ... turn it loose every day and see how it responds. I just have to get a little strength back."

Matos returns today

Out since May 10 after breaking his right ring finger while attempting to bunt, Matos took batting practice last night and was activated after the game. He is expected to start in center field today.

"You want to be there with the guys," said Matos, who went 5-for-20 on a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie. "They are still in first place and I want to be part of that. I am just excited to be back. I am 100 percent."

Around the horn

Catcher Sal Fasano passed out cigars in the clubhouse to celebrate Thursday's birth of his second child, Angelo Andrew Fasano. ... Miguel Tejada played in his 823rd consecutive game last night, moving past Gus Suhr for sole possession of ninth place on the all-time list of most consecutive games played.

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