ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Daniel Cabrera's six-game suspension for hitting New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was upheld yesterday, giving his sore right arm a couple of more days to heal and potentially leading to Garrett Olson's return to the rotation.
Cabrera was scheduled to start today, but Chris Waters will instead move up a day and start. Brian Burres will start tomorrow and Radhames Liz in Monday's series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Orioles will need a starter Tuesday, and Olson, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 20 with a 6.38 ERA, appears to be the most likely candidate. Olson is 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts since his demotion.
The announcement allows the Orioles to be even more cautious with Cabrera, who has complained about forearm soreness and back pain, a development that might explain the drop in his velocity recently and his struggles after the All-Star break. A magnetic resonance imaging taken this week showed no structural damage, leaving Cabrera relieved.
He is scheduled to start the first game of a doubleheader next Saturday against the Oakland Athletics, the Orioles' first game after his suspension is over.
"I was scared, but thank God everything is good," Cabrera said of the MRI results. "There's a little pain there. When you play baseball, you always have some pain. You can pitch with some pain, and this one isn't a big thing."
Cabrera started serving his suspension yesterday after his appeal of the six-game ban was denied. Cabrera vehemently denied intentionally hitting Rodriguez on July 29, and even the Yankees third baseman said he didn't think it was done on purpose.
"I'm really disappointed," Cabrera said. "It looked like there were only two people that believed I was trying to hit A-Rod: the umpire and [Bob Watson], the guy that worked for the commissioner. I didn't try to hit anybody, but they found me with that and there's nothing I can do. ... Once the six games are done, I'll be ready to pitch."
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said yesterday that reliever Chris Ray, who had ligament-reconstruction surgery last August, will not join the team when rosters expand Monday.
"There's no purpose of him being active in September," Trembley said. "He's done a great job. He's going to complete his program with Aberdeen. He's going to have a normal winter of rest come this spring training and then go from there. There's no purpose of him rejoining us in September. There's nothing to be gained from that."
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, on the disabled list since Aug. 5 with a fractured left foot, went through a rigorous pre-game workout, running the bases and taking fielding and batting practice. He remains on track to be activated Monday.
"I'll be ready," Jones said. "I'm ready right now, but I've got to wait."
Meanwhile, All-Star closer George Sherrill will not be ready to be activated Monday as was originally hoped.
"Sherrill may be a couple of days behind," Trembley said. "I backed off him because the other day when he went out to throw, he felt stiff. So we backed his program by two days."
Dollar days of September
The Orioles and MASN are offering tickets for $1 each for the Orioles' 16 September home games in a special MASN Maximum Access section in the upper deck of the ballpark.
There is a purchase limit of eight tickets per transaction, and each game ticket includes a voucher for a free ballpark tour that can be redeemed for any regularly scheduled tour in 2008. Tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours before the game.
Around the horn
Reliever Greg Aquino accepted his assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. ... Roving catcher instructor Don Werner will join the coaching staff full time when the team returns from the road trip. ... Double-A Bowie pitching coach Mike Griffin will also join the staff after Sept. 14.
Combined games over .500 for the Orioles' opponents the rest of the season