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Millar eager to forget April

The Baltimore Sun

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Kevin Millar has been through this plenty of times before, and he figures the best way out of it is to keep playing every day and wait for that one at-bat when everything changes.

"I'm taking it as good as you can take it," said Millar, who entered yesterday's game in a 4-for-38 slump that dropped his average to .204. "Bottom line, it ain't fun to hit .200, and I don't give a [damn] who you are. You just wait for that one pitch or that one at-bat where everything clicks in. Everything works together. Your lower half starts working with the upper half. It could be one walk. That's the way the game is."

Millar is a notoriously slow starter, and this year has been no different. He has a career average of .248 in April, the lowest of any month. He hit .223 this April, and he started May 0-for-10, a frustrating stretch that he ended with an RBI single in the first inning yesterday. Millar added another run-scoring single in the fifth and finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the Orioles' 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"The good thing is I've been through this before in around eight of my 10 years in the big leagues," Millar said. "I don't know why, because I've tried every different scenario. ... I've hit more and I've hit less in the offseason. I've lifted before games and I've lifted after games. April's been a miserable scene, and it's been like that for eight of the 10 years.

"My biggest thing right now that kind of made me angry is I'm swinging at bad pitches to drive. Usually, when I'm going well, I'll know that if I'm looking fastball in I can lay off the slider or the fastball away. ... That's when I know things aren't right. I have a pretty good idea of the strike zone, and I haven't done a good job of laying off."

Millar has started all but one of the Orioles' 31 games this season, and manager Dave Trembley doesn't think his first baseman needs a couple of days off.

"He wants to play. I don't see it as a mental thing. I don't think Kevin Millar is the Lone Ranger in this regard," Trembley said.

Big day for Loewen

Adam Loewen will be in Birmingham, Ala., today to get his ailing left elbow checked out by Dr. James Andrews, an important step in determining when the left-hander can return to the mound.

Andrews inserted a screw into Loewen's left elbow in June to repair a stress fracture. It has continued to give Loewen problems, leading to the club's decision last month to put him on the disabled list. A bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging and CT scan taken on the area have not revealed any new problems, so Loewen and the club are optimistic about today's examination.

"I think it would be good for everybody," Trembley said. "I think he felt a lot better about the situation when the bone scan came back the way that it did. I'm sure he's probably anxious to get going on a throwing program again and see what he has to do in order to get back out there again."

Bynum nears return

Freddie Bynum, on an injury rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Bowie, said he's pain-free and hoping to rejoin the Orioles after the Baysox return from a four-game series in New Britain that begins tonight.

Bynum sat out yesterday's game to rest after playing in two straight since joining Bowie from extended spring training. He started at shortstop Saturday night and came within a home run of hitting for the cycle.

The Orioles want Bynum, who underwent surgery March 12 to repair a torn meniscus, to get most of his work at shortstop.

"Wherever they want me to play, I'll play," he said.

Asked when he thinks he'll be ready to play for the Orioles, he smiled and said, "After [Saturday] night, I'm ready right now."

"I think two or three more games," he said. "After New Britain, I'll be ready."

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