ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- While the rest of the Orioles filtered into the visiting clubhouse at Tropicana Field yesterday and relaxed before batting practice - some sitting in recliners and watching television, others gathering at a table to play cards - pitcher Erik Bedard was conspicuous by his absence.
The Orioles still don't know whether Bedard, sidelined by a strained right oblique muscle, will make another start this season. He returned to Baltimore, where he's scheduled to be examined this morning by team orthopedist Andrew Cosgarea.
Manager Dave Trembley said he'll wait for the results before determining whether Bedard still fits in the rotation. The left-hander has made it clear that he wants to pitch again, and Trembley isn't ruling him out.
"I'm going with what Bedard told me. He wants to pitch again before the season is over," Trembley said. "I wouldn't expect anything different from Bedard. A class act."
Daniel Cabrera is the only holdover from the original rotation. The Orioles are relying on three rookies, and Kurt Birkins made his first major league start last night.
'4 or 5' to get call-up
Trembley wouldn't tip his hand when it came to today's roster expansion. He only confirmed that "four or five" players from Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk are coming up to the majors.
Rob Bell wasn't included on Trembley's list, but he's expected to rejoin the club if he clears waivers. The Orioles will find out at 1 p.m. today.
"I talked to Rob Bell today," Trembley said. "He's already down here. He has a home in Tampa."
Any player who joins the team must be included on the 40-man roster, and the Orioles are at their limit. They could transfer closer Chris Ray to the 60-day disabled list to create room for former Cleveland Indians reliever Fernando Cabrera, who is pitching at Norfolk.
Jaret Wright made another appearance at Bowie yesterday while trying to return from a shoulder injury, tossing a perfect inning in the Baysox's final game. But Trembley wouldn't confirm whether Wright will be added to the roster.
"I'm not sure about that," Trembley said. "That's yet to be determined. That's a decision that's made by more than just myself."
If Wright returns, he'll pitch out of the bullpen.
Mistakes hurt Guthrie
Like any pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie knows his results will improve if he keeps the ball down. It also helps if he can prevent it from rattling the outfield seats.
Going into tonight's start, Guthrie has surrendered 19 home runs in his past 14 games after allowing four in his first 15 appearances. Teams have homered twice in five of his past six starts.
"First of all, there's the weather. Balls travel better, so balls that were hit to the warning track in April are potential home runs in Camden these days," said Guthrie, who hasn't won since July 27.
"Hitters obviously thrive, if you look all around the league. The majority of hitters hit more home runs from July on, so that's just natural. And on top of that, hitters hit mistakes better. They're in midseason form. The mistakes pitchers make are magnified, and that's been the case with me. The majority of them are mistakes."
The elements won't be a factor tonight with Guthrie pitching in a domed stadium.
"Bad pitches have gotten taken advantage of, and even good pitches have been hit out," he said. "You try to keep the ball down. It's harder to hit a ball out that's at your knees. You can always go back to that, to making sure you're keeping the ball down. I don't think there are any major adjustments you can make other than that. Being aggressive, but down in the zone, and maybe more focused. It takes more focus and concentration to be consistently down."
Guthrie said he felt like he had "shutout stuff" in an Aug. 24 start against the Minnesota Twins, but he allowed two homers - three runs total - and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He hasn't blamed fatigue for his poor numbers lately, a natural assumption given that he's thrown 159 1/3 innings, the highest single-season total of his professional career.
"I feel great," he said. "The last three starts, I felt as good as I felt all season. I should have at least two wins."