MINNEAPOLIS -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he believes the team did the right thing by giving Luis Hernandez a chance to be the club's starting shortstop.
And because it didn't work out, it was in the team's best interest to designate him for assignment when it added pitcher Radhames Liz on Monday.
"I told Luis if he clears waivers, we're confident he can go back to the minor leagues and play on a regular basis and get himself back to where he was," Trembley said. "That's totally up to him."
Hernandez hit just .241 with a .295 on-base percentage and had only nine at-bats since losing his starting job to Freddie Bynum on May 8. Known for his defense, Hernandez wasn't nearly as solid at shortstop as he was when he filled in for Miguel Tejada in 2007.
"I told him that what we wanted so see from him was what we saw last year when he had the opportunity to come up here when Tejada got hurt," Trembley said. "For whatever reason - there's all different kinds of theories behind it - I just didn't think he made the routine play. He was rather inconsistent."
Asked whether he thought Hernandez could be an everyday big league shortstop again, Trembley said: "I'm not sure. Before, I thought he was going to be the regular shortstop on this club based on what I saw last season."
Hernandez, who turns 24 on June 26, doesn't have any minor league options remaining, so he has to be exposed to waivers before he can report to Triple-A Norfolk.
One of his best friends on the team, third baseman Melvin Mora, said Hernandez was understandably disappointed Monday night. Mora told Hernandez to keep working and he would be back in the majors someday.
"I told him there is a big difference between the big leagues and the minor leagues," Mora said.
Sarfate waits for call
Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate has been in high-pressure situations before, but this one is a little different and a little tougher to handle. His wife, Jada, is nine months pregnant with their first child, daughter Kinsley. While his wife is due Sunday in Baltimore, Sarfate is on a nine-game road trip.
"It's going to be a little nerve-racking," Sarfate said. " I hated to leave her last night."
The plan is for Sarfate to get on a plane as soon as he is informed that Jada has gone into labor. During games, Orioles athletic trainers Brian Ebel and Richie Bancells are monitoring Sarfate's phone. And his friends and family have been giving instructions not to call - leaving it as a hot line for Jada.
The team leaves Minnesota for Toronto tomorrow night, and then for Boston on Sunday night. The Orioles don't get back home until early June 13, but Sarfate has been given permission to leave whenever he feels it is necessary. If it happens while he is on the road, he is hoping he'll be in Boston because it's a short flight and he wouldn't have to deal with getting through customs in Canada. Meanwhile, he is trying not to worry about the pending arrival.
"If I miss the delivery or I get home just in time, so be it," he said. "I just want a healthy baby. That's the most important thing."
Johnson's first win
Jim Johnson has pitched in 25 big league games, including last night for the Orioles and one each in 2006 and 2007 for them. But he didn't get his first win until Monday night, when Adam Jones' eighth-inning double with the bases loaded broke a tie at 3 and made Johnson the pitcher of record.
As good as the rookie has been, Monday's outing was one of his roughest. He allowed two hits, two walks and a run in one inning.
"It was ugly," he said. "But I'll take it."
Johnson has a few of Monday's game balls and said he'll keep one and give his parents another. Closer George Sherrill, who picked up the save, kept the game's final ball.
"We were going to arm wrestle for it," Johnson said jokingly, "but we decided not to."
Loewen to start
Adam Loewen (left elbow) will start an extended spring training game in Sarasota today and throw one inning. If it goes well, the club will construct a rehabilitation schedule for him in Frederick and Bowie.