Surhoff appears headed to DL


TORONTO - With B.J. Surhoff bothered by soreness on his left side that requires daily treatments, the Orioles were preparing last night to place him on the disabled list and recall David Newhan from Triple-A Ottawa.

Surhoff hasn't started six of the past eight games, though he pinch hit Sunday and played the last two innings in left field. He's batting .318 in his past 18 games.

Manager Lee Mazzilli explained Surhoff's absence from the lineup last night against the Toronto Blue Jays as a combination of the soreness, the left-handed pitchers who have started against the Orioles in the past week, and the return of outfielders Larry Bigbie and Luis Matos from the disabled list.

The Orioles optioned Newhan to Ottawa after Saturday's game, but he could return before the 10-day requirement because he'd be replacing an injured player. He was removed from last night's game against the Toledo Mud Hens after two at-bats.

With Melvin Mora injuring his right hamstring last night, the Orioles could put him on the disabled list and give Surhoff a few more days to recover.

Fasano is 'fine'

The sight of Orioles catcher Sal Fasano sitting on a clubhouse sofa yesterday, playing a video hockey game, must have come as a relief to a team that doesn't need another injury.

Fasano didn't start last night, but he was available after his left thumb was bent back while trying to apply a tag in the seventh inning of Monday night's 11-2 loss to Toronto.

Eric Hinske jarred the ball out of Fasano's mitt and almost cost the Orioles another catcher. Javy Lopez remains on the disabled list with a broken right hand - he'll begin exercises this weekend in Atlanta - and Geronimo Gil had his left thumb bent back during a series in Detroit earlier this month.

"It's fine, no problem," Fasano said. "I'm a quick healer."

It didn't matter whether he won or lost the hockey game. As long as he was playing.

"That's therapy," he said.

Gil caught the last inning of Monday's game. Mazzilli said he didn't consider using Eli Marrero, who will move behind the plate only in emergencies.

Maine's waiting game

Bypassed again when the Orioles needed another starting pitcher, John Maine is hanging back at Triple-A Ottawa, winning games and waiting for his next opportunity in the majors.

Maine was named the International League's Pitcher of the Week after throwing a seven-inning shutout in the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against Richmond. Maine allowed four hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out six. More than 70 percent of his pitches were strikes.

"For John, when he averages a strikeout an inning and he's not walking people, he's really effective," said David Stockstill, director of minor league operations.

A sixth-round draft pick in 2002, Maine led Ottawa with six wins going into last night's start, and his 3.24 ERA ranked seventh in the league.

"He's throwing the ball much, much better. He's improving with every outing," Stockstill said. "Earlier, he was having one rough inning each game, but he seems to have gotten away from that completely now. His fastball is 90, 92 mph, with his curveball and slider both good. His changeup, he's had good control of that."

The Orioles promoted Hayden Penn from Double-A Bowie rather than Maine, who made one start for them last season. They also plucked reliever Chris Ray from the Baysox's roster when optioning left-hander John Parrish.

"His name has definitely been in consideration. It just happened to go to the other guys so far, but his name is brought up all the time and he's definitely in our plans," Stockstill said.

Some scouts project Maine as a back-of-the-rotation starter in the majors, rather than a potential ace, as he was touted earlier in his professional career.

Grimsley update

Jason Grimsley threw in the bullpen for the second straight day. He'll take today off and undergo another side session tomorrow, with the possibility that he'll go on an injury rehab assignment next week.

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