Battery mates team for rehab at Frederick

The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles finally are able to team up pitcher Jaret Wright with catcher Ramon Hernandez. It's just not happening in Baltimore.

Wright and Hernandez will report to Single-A Frederick on an injury rehabilitation assignment and start tonight against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Hernandez will stay with the Keys an extra day and serve as their designated hitter tomorrow, while Wright rejoins the Orioles.

If everything goes according to plan, Wright will come off the disabled list in time to start Sunday's game in Cleveland.

Hernandez could be activated Thursday, unless the Orioles decide to wait until the team arrives in Cleveland to start a three-game series. He hasn't played this season because of a strained left oblique muscle.

"It's going to be up to him," manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He's been pretty good with telling us that he needs a little more time, a little more time. And we're certainly going to do what he says because when we get him back, we want him back for good."

Wright went on the DL with soreness in his right shoulder. He has had two side sessions.

"We'll try to get somewhere around 60 pitches or so ... depending on how he feels," Perlozzo said.

Hernandez is expected to catch six innings.

Trying again after false start

Jeremy Guthrie can't bring himself to check tonight's weather forecast, not after his first scheduled start April 15 was rained out.

"I assume it's going to be very hot," he said.

Only the elements can stop Guthrie, who is scheduled to take Wright's turn tonight.

Guthrie hasn't pitched since relieving Adam Loewen on April 16 and earning his first major league victory. He threw on the side before Sunday's game and has warmed up the outfielders between innings to stay loose.

The challenge is going from sparse bullpen duty - he has been in only three games - to a starting assignment.

"We'll find out if it's different," he said. "I don't think I've ever gone relief to starting that I can remember. I'll go out with the confidence that it's going to be just like every other time, and afterward I'll tell you if it felt different. But in my mind, right now, it should be the same going out there."

Guthrie won't be on a strict pitch count. How he's throwing will determine how long he lasts.

"Ideally, you'd like to see him get five at least, but if he goes along smoothly, maybe another one after that," Perlozzo said. "If he's got his stuff and he's pitching the way he's capable of, he should be able to do that."

Scouting trip

Executive vice president Mike Flanagan and vice president Jim Duquette were in Atlanta on Saturday to watch North Carolina State and Georgia Tech in a game that featured two players who are expected to be among the top picks in June's draft.

Andrew Brackman, a 6-foot-10 right-hander who also played on the N.C. State basketball team, pitched for the Wolfpack, and Georgia Tech's lineup included highly touted catcher Matt Wieters.

The Orioles hold the fifth pick in the draft, and it's possible Wieters and Brackman, who struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings but took the loss, will be gone before the team makes its selection.

However, Duquette said yesterday that he and Flanagan are planning to see the top six players on their draft board. Brackman is 6-4 with a 3.90 ERA for N.C. State. Wieters is hitting .351 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs for Georgia Tech.

A's starter to debut

Oakland Athletics pitcher Rich Harden, scheduled to start today, was placed on the DL with a strained right shoulder. Left-hander Dallas Braden, 23, has been called up from Triple-A Sacramento and will make his major league debut.

Braden began the season at Double-A Midland and went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts before moving up to Sacramento, where he pitched six scoreless innings in his only appearance.

The Athletics also placed outfielder Milton Bradley on the DL with a strained left hamstring and called up outfielder Danny Putnam from Midland.

Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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