Nate Snell picked up the most expensive victory of his career Tuesday night. Snell, the Baltimore Orioles' most effective pitcher this season, was hit by a line drive in the seventh inning of the game with the Minnesota Twins and suffered a broken rib. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

"What a way to get a win," Snell said from his hospital room this evening. "They're going to keep me in here for another night of observation because the area around the lung is a little bruised and they want to make sure there's no infection.

"I thought at first it was a bruise; I had no idea it would be a broken rib." he said.

Snell, a 32-year-old rookie, has a 3-1 record and a 2.12 earned run average. He has worked more innings than any other relief pitcher in the American League.

The Orioles called up Phil Huffman -- a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher with a 6-7 record and 3.35 earned run average in 15 starts with Class AAA Rochester.

Snell was struck by a line drive off the bat of Mike Stenhouse. The blow knocked down Snell, who somehow picked up the ball and threw to first for the out in a game that the Orioles went on to win, 11-6, after a ninth-inning rain delay.

"I didn't even see it," Snell said. "It was coming back so fast, I couldn't get out of the way. I've been hit on the leg and other places, but never there.

"When (the doctor) told me it was a broken rib, I thought, 'Oh, oh, I know I'm gone for awhile.' Things were going good, and you just don't want to miss time, especially in your first year. They said it will take two weeks for the rib to heal, and from there, I don't know how long it will take to pitch without a lot of pain -- maybe three weeks, maybe four.

"All I know is I've been in here one day and I'm already sick of TV soap operas." -- Michael Wilbon