Orioles Notebook

Benson's Season Is Over

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 16, 2007

FORT MYERS, Fla., March 15 -- The Baltimore Orioles and pitcher Kris Benson ended a dubious experiment Thursday when Benson decided to undergo season-ending surgery on his partially torn right rotator cuff.

Benson, along with team doctors, determined that his rehabilitation program was not working, according to Orioles Vice President Jim Duquette.

The Orioles and Benson decided to try a four-week rehab program, but the experiment ended after three weeks when Benson still felt pain in his shoulder.

David Altchek, the New York Mets' team doctor, will perform the surgery Tuesday, according to agent Gregg Clifton.

Benson is in the final season of a three-year, $22.5 million deal. The Orioles, according to Duquette, have not made a determination whether to buy out Benson's $7.5 million option for next season.

"I've been in this camp hoping that he would be okay and that it would be a bonus," Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo said. "I was looking at it as a bonus. I felt like we had our five guys."

"We were a little bit optimistic about it just because the feeling was that he didn't do an awful lot at the end of the season until January," Duquette said. "But still we had medical opinions that made you wonder what you were up against. We certainly weren't counting on it."

Steve Trachsel likely will be the Orioles' fifth starter. Perlozzo said rookie Hayden Penn still has an opportunity to make the team as a reliever.

"I'd love for him to get into the mix and force the issue," Perlozzo said. "There's still some time left."

Millar Ailing

Perlozzo indicated that injured first baseman Kevin Millar (right forearm strain) might not return to the lineup until next week. Millar has played in just five exhibition games. . . . The Orioles likely will call up several players from their minor league camp in Sarasota to help fill out the rosters for their split-squad games on Saturday. . . .

Jay Gibbons (abdominal strain) likely will return to the lineup on Friday. . . . Reliever Rob Bell, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, threw another scoreless inning. Bell has not allowed a run in seven innings.

Wanted: The Right Stuff Perlozzo said he hoped the team could add a right-handed bat to its bench so he wouldn't have to play Aubrey Huff, Gibbons and Millar in the outfield. "I don't mind those guys against lefties offensively but you don't want to give up too much defense," Perlozzo said. "It would be nice to have a guy that can play defense out there and swing the bat a little bit. The ideal guy would be someone that can play infield and outfield and swing the bat a little bit and run a little bit." Up Next vs. Twins in Fort Lauderdale, 1 p.m.

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