Having spent most of his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury back home in California, Jaret Wright easily could have been forgotten by the Orioles. Now, he wants to pitch for them next month.
Wright, obtained in a winter trade with the New York Yankees for reliever Chris Britton, threw off a mound three times last week - the biggest step he's taken in his recovery. He will try to stay on the same schedule this week at Camden Yards, beginning with yesterday's bullpen session.
The plan calls for Wright to throw again tomorrow and Friday before the Orioles decide the next step. He eventually could go on an injury rehab assignment, though the minor league season is winding down. But he wants to be activated next month.
"I'm trying to maybe get back to help out in the 'pen or something," he said.
"You don't know what's going to happen, but you have to give yourself a shot, and I think that's what I've done to be here right now. Just try to play the last month, I think, is what we're trying to do. I'm sure we'll get a better idea after today when I sit down with those guys. I don't know what's going to happen."
Wright has missed 113 of the Orioles' 122 games because of his shoulder. He's 0-3 with a 6.97 ERA in 10 1/3 innings covering three starts. He wouldn't speculate on whether he'll attempt to pitch in 2008.
"I think about today and how it feels today," he said. "That's bottom line for me."
Before last week, Wright had been restricted to long tossing and keeping tabs on his teammates and the many changes that have occurred.
"[Erik] Bedard, it's just unbelievable to watch that guy throw and the stuff he's got," Wright said. "And [Jeremy] Guthrie, I'm really, really happy for him that he's throwing the ball the way he has. He's a great guy, and to watch that happen to him is great."
Wright was able to bond with manager Dave Trembley in spring training, when Trembley served as field coordinator and bullpen coach.
"He kind of ran spring, basically," Wright said. "I'm really happy for him. I think he's a good guy, and from talking to the guys around here while I was in California, they really seem to like him."
The Orioles made a roster move before last night's game, activating utility player Freddie Bynum from the disabled list and optioning Brandon Fahey to Triple-A Norfolk.
Bynum originally was sidelined with a strained left hamstring, an injury that occurred July 6 in Texas as he ran out a ground ball. He was set to return before needing five stitches to close a gash on the back of his left hand after having it stepped on during his third rehab game in the minors.
The Orioles kept Bynum on the disabled list and sent him on another assignment. He went 3-for-15 in four games between Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. Overall, he was 4-for-21 in seven games.
Bynum is hitting .277 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 48 games with the Orioles.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "My mental state is fine, my physical state is fine. I'm just ready to play ball."
Fahey batted .231 with one RBI in 23 games. He played second base, shortstop, third base and left field.
Gibbons on scene
Jay Gibbons rejoined the team yesterday with his surgically repaired left shoulder immobilized in a sling-like device that includes straps that wrap around his right shoulder and waist, and a soft rectangular box held in place between his left forearm and midsection. He'll have to wear it for a month before beginning range-of-motion exercises.
"I'm not getting a whole lot of sleep," he said.
Gibbons underwent surgery last Tuesday to repair a left glenoid labrum tear. He'll miss the rest of the season, but expects to be ready for spring training.
"It was a rough week, but I'm actually feeling OK now," he said. "The next step is heading out to Arizona, probably Wednesday, and getting this thing better. From what the doctor told me, he said I'll be throwing in December. I have no reason to believe otherwise."
Gibbons batted .230 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 84 games.
"It's been a tough one. It's going to be a hard one to forget," he said. "I put a lot of effort into this last offseason, and I'm thinking I'll have to work harder and go back to the drawing board with the swing. I'll be OK."
Last night's game was postponed because of rain and will be made up tomorrow as part of a doubleheader. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m., with the regularly scheduled game to follow.
Daniel Cabrera, who had been scheduled to pitch last night, will start the first game of the doubleheader, with rookie Garrett Olson moving up to the second game. Bedard will start tonight.
"We're just trying to keep it as close to what it was before as we possibly can," Trembley said.
"You always want to play, but we didn't want to wait here until 10, 10:30 to start the game. And it's not our call; it's the umpires' call because it's the last time we play Texas."
With tonight's forecast also calling for rain, the Orioles received permission to schedule the doubleheader tomorrow.