Sore ankle forces Palmeiro to bench


OAKLAND, Calif. -- Not long after arriving in the visitors' clubhouse yesterday at McAfee Coliseum and putting on his uniform, Rafael Palmeiro was back in street clothes and headed to a local hospital for X-rays on his sore right ankle.

The X-rays were negative and Palmeiro, who was expected yesterday to make his first appearance in back-to-back games since returning from his 10-day steroid suspension, is considered day-to-day.

"It's just an old injury that I've had in the past," Palmeiro said. "Since I haven't played in a couple of weeks, I went out hard [on Tuesday] and reinjured it. It was an old sprain. It healed. I don't know that I sprained it again. It just hurt."

Palmeiro suspected that he hurt the ankle running out a single in the sixth inning Tuesday or scoring two innings earlier on Sammy Sosa's single. Playing in his second game after returning, Palmeiro had two hits in the Orioles' 4-3 win Tuesday.

He said he felt discomfort during the game and couldn't put any weight on it in his last at-bat Tuesday, but it felt even worse yesterday. He tried to run but informed manager Sam Perlozzo that he couldn't put any weight on it.

Palmeiro said he is hoping to be in the lineup tomorrow in the series opener in Cleveland. Perlozzo had planned on using the 40-year-old at first base for the first time since his return, but now that is in doubt.

"I was ready to come back out today," Palmeiro said. "I am anxious to get playing every day. And now this. I don't think it's anything, I hope. I'll have a day off [today]. I just wanted to get going, get back into my rhythm."

Newhan, Hendricks collide

Several Orioles huddled around the television set in the clubhouse after yesterday's win to watch replays of right fielder David Newhan colliding with 64-year-old bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks while trying to field Eric Chavez's foul ball in front of the Orioles' bullpen.

They rewound it about five times and each time a chorus of laughter filled the room. They can laugh about it now. Neither Newhan nor Hendricks was injured, and the obstructed non-catch didn't result in any A's runs.

"I made one quick look and just went after the ball, and next thing I know I was bouncing off that brick wall," said Newhan, who is 5 feet 10, 180 pounds, while Hendricks is 6-1, 200. "He's an immovable force. I know I am a little man, but I don't think I ran back to my position. I bounced off him, straight back to right. He didn't budge."

Taking a cue from Miller

Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller was not with the team in Oakland as he tended to personal issues, but his impact is still being felt.

With All-Star closer B.J. Ryan struggling to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning Tuesday night, television cameras caught Perlozzo making an overhand motion toward Ryan in the dugout, instructing him to stay on top of the ball.

"I thought he was dropping down a little bit from the side and that's why his ball was running off the plate," said Perlozzo, who spoke to Miller yesterday and said he will rejoin the team tomorrow. "I remember from Ray always yelling out, sitting next to me and yelling to get on top again. I don't know if [Ryan] heard me or whatever, but he got up top."

Ryan struck out Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby looking to end the game.

Newhan glad to be busy

Newhan has made 11 starts and seen action in 15 of 16 games since his recall from Triple-A Ottawa on July 27. The increased exposure under Perlozzo has been welcomed.

"I really didn't know what my role was earlier," he said. "I don't know if I really had a role. I think it's just kind of being defined a little more, into more of what I envisioned I had a chance at doing earlier in the year."

Around the horn

In 14 2/3 innings, Orioles reliever Jason Grimsley, who couldn't get an out yesterday, has given up 17 hits, five of them home runs. ... In his return to Oakland, Orioles outfielder Eric Byrnes was 0-for-13 in the series. ... With Luis Matos' seventh-inning home run, the Orioles ended a five-game homerless streak, their longest since the final five games of the 2003 season. ... Midre Cummings cleared waivers and was sent outright to Triple-A Ottawa. ... USA Baseball named former Orioles manager Davey Johnson as field manager for the minor league professional team that will represent the United States at the 2005 IBAF World Cup on Sept. 2-17 in the Netherlands.

Sun staff writer Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

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