Payton Set For Debut In Baltimore

By Adam Kilgore
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 20, 2007

Jay Payton's wait for his Orioles debut will end today, when he'll be ready to play with the team for the first time since signing with Baltimore during the offseason.

Payton went on the disabled list March 27 with a strained left hamstring and was scheduled to come off it April 11, but he needed more time to rehab the injury. He finished his preparation yesterday by playing in his second game at Class AAA Norfolk. In two starts in left field, Payton went 2 for 8 with a double and three runs.

While Payton will join the Orioles for the first time, Manager Sam Perlozzo may not insert him as a starter right away. Perlozzo said this week that Payton will be "a little bit behind" and he doesn't want to rush him. If needed, Payton has the speed to pinch-run.

Payton's addition likely means a demotion for Jon Knott, who was a pleasant surprise in his brief stay. Knott came to the Orioles with exceedingly low expectations, so much that Perlozzo openly joked he was there to pinch-hit "in case we need a three-run home run."

In his first at-bat as an Oriole, Knott drilled a pinch-hit homer against Tampa Bay. In his two games with the Orioles, he went 3 for 4 with that home run -- the first of his career -- and three RBI.

News From Norfolk

Demoted reliever Kurt Birkins will make his first start for Norfolk today. Another former big league pitcher trying to make his way back, Paul Shuey, made his debut at Norfolk yesterday. Shuey struggled, surrendering two runs on four hits in just one inning of relief. Shuey, 36, injured his foot in spring training and has not pitched in the majors since 2003.

UP NEXT Tonight vs. Blue Jays7:05 p.m. Cabrera (1-1) vs. Burnett (1-1) MASN2 Tomorrow vs. Blue Jays7:05 p.m. Loewen (1-0) vs. Towers (1-1) MASN

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