Though optimistic that Jaret Wright won't be out of the rotation for long, the Orioles yesterday placed the veteran right-hander on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder stiffness and recalled left-hander Brian Burres.
Wright, who was removed in the sixth inning of the Orioles' 3-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, is hopeful that he'll miss only two starts. With a day off Thursday, the Orioles are planning to skip Wright's next turn in the rotation after it comes up Sunday.
"The good thing about it is he feels a lot better than we expected," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "By the time we have him ticketed to start again, it won't be until [April 29]. That actually gives him some time to do some work on it there and possibly give him one or two rehab starts."
Orioles vice president Jim Duquette said Wright tried to persuade club officials to allow him to start Sunday.
"That's how much better he feels today than the other night," said Duquette, who said that he'd be surprised if Wright missed more than two starts. "We thought the safest thing to do is for him to back off. It's still early in the season. ... He's a veteran pitcher and he has some wear and tear in the shoulder like most guys do. It's something he's going to have to manage just like he has up to this point."
Wright, who has had two surgeries on his shoulder in his career, said that treatment the past couple of days has eased much of the discomfort. He's planning to resume throwing in the next few days.
"Hopefully coming out when I did, it will only be 15 or 16 days," he said. "We can get some good work in and try to get ahead of this thing instead of right now trying to keep my head above water."
In his place Sunday, the Orioles likely will start Jeremy Guthrie, assuming the long reliever is not used for extensively before Saturday. Guthrie has pitched 5 2/3 innings this season, allowing two earned runs.
"It would be fine, but obviously it's at the expense of the team," Guthrie said. "That's not what you want. You want all these starters to stay healthy and to be there. But if I start, great. Hopefully, I'll pitch as well as Jaret pitched in his last outing."
If Guthrie doesn't start, Burres and Kurt Birkins are also options from the big league club. If the club goes to the minors for a spot starter, Duquette said Jon Leicester and Jim Johnson will be considered. Duquette said Hayden Penn, whose last minor league start was pushed back because of forearm soreness, and Garrett Olson are not under consideration.
Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada acknowledged that he appreciates being protected by his pitchers, but he doesn't want them to get retribution when he's hit. Two innings after Tigers starter Justin Verlander drilled Tejada in the back Wednesday night, Adam Loewen hit Tigers star Gary Sheffield.
"When that happened, I didn't really ask him to do that because he was pitching a great game and after he hit Sheffield, he got in trouble," Tejada said. "When I get hit, I don't expect to see somebody get hit. It's not my kind of thing. He protected me. It's great to do it ... but it's not like I'm happy to see somebody get hit."
Tejada, who has gotten hit twice this season, said he is getting pitched inside more this year than in the past.
"I have to make an adjustment," he said. "Those pitches that I'm swinging at are balls. I watched the video and ... I don't know why I'm swinging at them."
The Orioles have had conversations with the Colorado Rockies about pitcher Byung Hyun Kim, but at this point, they have only lukewarm interest in the South Korean pitcher and only as a reliever. They also would want the Rockies to assume most of Kim's $2.5 million contract this season.
According to a baseball source, the Rockies asked for relievers Scott Williamson and Todd Williams in exchange for Kim, a proposal that was turned down.
The source also said that two or three teams, including the New York Mets, have mild interest in Williams, but only if the Orioles wanted to get rid of the reliever as a salary dump. The Orioles are not interested in doing that at this point because they still feel that Williams, who has been shut down for a couple of days at Triple-A Norfolk because of cracked skin on a finger on his throwing hand, could help them at some point this season.
Around the horn
Catcher Ramon Hernandez, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, was pain-free yesterday for the first time and could start hitting off a tee or doing a soft toss as early as tomorrow. The club is hopeful he could play at some point in the three-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that starts Monday. ... Third baseman Bill Rowell, the organization's top hitting prospect who has been sidelined with an oblique injury, has been taking batting practice at Single-A Delmarva but may still be about two weeks away from playing. ... Duquette said if the pitching staff gets through Sunday in fine shape, the club might bolster the bench by bringing up another position player.