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MRI on Benson shows tendinitis


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A magnetic resonance imaging test yesterday on Kris Benson's right elbow revealed that the soreness the Orioles pitcher is experiencing is because of tendinitis, and Benson will miss at least his next start Sunday against the Chicago White Sox.

The Orioles will evaluate Benson, who left the team after his start here Tuesday to be examined by team doctor Andy Cosgarea, this weekend to decide if a trip to the disabled list is necessary. Benson is 9-9 with a 4.71 ERA, but he is winless in his past five starts.

Benson complained about soreness in his elbow earlier this season and again after Tuesday's start, in which he couldn't hold a 4-0 lead in the Orioles' 7-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals. He told Orioles officials that he has felt it in previous seasons.

"The clinical exam went relatively smooth," said Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo before learning of the MRI results. "They didn't have a whole lot to be alarmed at."

The Orioles, who already are uncertain who will start tomorrow, now have to find a starter for Sunday as well. Bruce Chen, who hasn't started since May 31 and is winless in 10 starts, is likely to start one of those games.

Perlozzo said the team is discussing several options for the other game, including demoted starter Russ Ortiz, but their decision could hinge on how long Benson is going to be out.

Tatis' wait is over

Orioles infielder Fernando Tatis, once considered a future star during his days in St. Louis, hadn't started a major league game since June 15, 2003, before last night. Perlozzo inserted him in the lineup at third base, moving Melvin Mora to the designated hitter role.

Despite being out of professional baseball for two seasons - his exit due in large part to a deluge of injuries - Tatis said he was treating last night like it was any other game.

"Why am I going to be nervous?" asked Tatis when approached by reporters. "It's just another game in the big leagues. I am glad I made it, and I know I can do it. Now that I am here, I am not going to do any more than I can do. I hope I can be around for a while."

Hawkins blocks out talk

LaTroy Hawkins doesn't read newspapers or watch ESPN, so he's mostly unaware that his name is being thrown around in trade rumors on almost a daily basis. However, he said he is flattered that other teams are interested.

"My grandfather always told me, 'it's never a problem when somebody is interested in you. It's only a problem when nobody wants you,'" said Hawkins, who is 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA. "I'd love to stay here. ... The coaches, players, and especially the fans in Baltimore have been great. But I know baseball is a business."

Hawkins, perhaps the Orioles' top trade chip, has attracted interest from about seven teams.

Gibbons a possibility

The Orioles were hoping to activate Jay Gibbons, who hasn't played since June 13 because of a sprained right knee, before tonight's game against the White Sox. However, Perlozzo, who spoke to the outfielder yesterday, acknowledged that Gibbons' offensive struggles on his rehabilitation assignment could alter that plan.

Gibbons, who was scheduled to play last night with Double-A Bowie after taking Wednesday off because of general soreness, is 0-for-12 with five strikeouts in stints at Bowie and Single-A Frederick.

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