Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 31, 2005; Page D04
JUPITER, Fla., March 30 -- Baltimore Orioles Manager Lee Mazzilli conceded Wednesday that he did not have a better option than to use Melvin Mora in the second spot in the lineup. The Orioles were just lucky Mora won't begin the season on the disabled list.
Mora was hit just above the right wrist by a pitch from the St. Louis Cardinals' Jeff Suppan in the third inning of the team's 5-5 tie on Wednesday. The third baseman was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which showed no break. Mora will skip the final two exhibition games in Oklahoma City and instead travel to Baltimore to visit with team physician Charles Silberstein, but Mazzilli said he had no doubt Mora would start on Opening Day.
_____From The Post_____
The Orioles give up on Matt Riley by trading him to Texas.
Baseball and the Orioles will share ownership in a regional sports network.
Notebook: Melvin Mora should be fine after getting hit by a pitch.
_____ Baseball '05 _____
• It will be tough for the Orioles- Nationals matchup to join the ranks of great baseball rivalries. • A closer look at the Nationals' rivals in the NL East. • Thomas Boswell: The old rivalry between Washington and Baltimore should not take long to heat up. • The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is the best in sports and only figures to get more intense this season. • A timeline of the Red Sox and Yankees' shared history. • Many teams have laid claim to being the top rival of the Yankees. • Started in New York City and continued in California, the Giants- Dodgers rivalry is one for the ages. • Baseball Preview Section
"They just said that it got me pretty good and now there is a bruise there," Mora said. "I'll take a couple or three days off because there's swelling there now. They said, 'If you take 2-3 days it will be back to normal.' I'll be fine because I can squeeze the hand."
Mora said he got no satisfaction by missing the team's trip to Oklahoma City.
"I want to be there," Mora said. "I want to play."
Last season, Mora hit .354 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 229 at-bats as the second hitter. Mazzilli tried out Larry Bigbie and Jay Gibbons in the second spot, but eventually settled on Mora.
"I'm not really too sure I'm going to find that number two hitter," Mazzilli said. "I think I'm going to put Melvin in the two hole right now. That's what I'm leaning toward. Ideally you'd like to put him in the three spot."
The Orioles avoided another disaster when Brian Roberts fouled a pitch off his right shin in the ninth inning. He left the game with a bruise, but X-rays were not needed. Roberts had three hits. . . . In a separate deal from Matt Riley's trade to Texas, the Orioles sent catcher Keith McDonald to the Rangers for future considerations. . . .
Rodrigo Lopez, in his final start of the spring, allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings. He will start Monday's opener against the Oakland Athletics.