Struggling Millar Bats In 7th Spot

By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 4, 2008

BALTIMORE, July 3 -- Attempting to account for equal but opposite play from two Baltimore Orioles, Manager Dave Trembley tweaked the lineup for Thursday's game. First baseman Kevin Millar dropped to seventh in the batting order -- he often bats fourth or fifth -- and catcher Ramón Hernández batted cleanup for a second consecutive night.

The negative: Millar batted .150 over the past week and went 0 for 3 on Tuesday.

The positive: Hernández went 3 for 4 with an RBI on Wednesday, when he moved to fourth in the order for the first time since July 7, 2007.

"It would be real difficult the way Ramón was swinging the bat the way he did to take him out of the four hole," Trembley said. "I think he'd be looking at me like, 'What are you doing?' Maybe we'll get Kevin started. He'll be back up there hitting in that three, four, five [spot] at some particular point in the year."

Millar said he has been "tinkering" with his swing but he has not been settled lately. Millar said before Thursday's game that he had not yet spoken with Trembley about the move, but he did not sound concerned.

"Bottom line is this is a team and that kind of stuff, it all works its way out," Millar said. "You go out here and you swing the bat better and you get to the top of the lineup. I haven't been swinging the bat well in the past seven to 10 days. It's my job to get going."

Albers Explains Decision

Right-handed pitcher Matt Albers addressed his decision to rehabilitate the torn labrum in his right shoulder, saying Thursday he is "trying to avoid getting cut on to be out eight to 10 months."

James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon from Birmingham, Ala., and team physicians told Albers he could choose between surgery and rehabilitation. Rehab will consist of three weeks of arm exercises and three subsequent weeks when he will start throwing again. Surgery would have shelved him for up to 10 months.

"Obviously it's not a quick process; it's going to be awhile," Albers said. "I'm just trying to avoid surgery."

© 2008 The Washington Post Company