The Baltimore Orioles rearranged their bullpen again tonight by sending Rocky Coppinger back to Class AAA Rochester and recalling Gabe Molina. Just a month ago, Molina had been sent down and Coppinger called up. Now, they're switching places again.
Coppinger didn't take the news well. He criticized Manager Ray Miller for having no confidence in him and said his days with the organization were just about over.
"It's time to move on," he said. "The writing is on the wall for me in this organization. If Ray thinks I'm a mop-up guy, he's wrong. I'm better than that. The manager here doesn't like me and has never liked me. That's no secret."
Coppinger is 0-1 with a 9.19 ERA after being tried as both a starter and reliever this season. He hadn't been used in eight days since pitching a scoreless eighth against the Chicago White Sox.
The Orioles have offered him in trade discussions over the past month but found no takers. Coppinger has three days to report back to Rochester and said he would take all of it.
As for Miller, he said the move was made to allow Coppinger to try to develop as a full-time closer.
"We'll use him with more frequency down there," Miller said.
What a Relief It Is
Jesse Orosco made his 1,051st relief appearance tonight, passing Kent Tekulve for first place on baseball's all-time list. He allowed a game-tying single to Tino Martinez in the eighth inning, then got Paul O'Neill on a grounder to shortstop and intentionally walked Chili Davis before departing.
"I'm happy about it," Orosco said. "I wished it had been a happy ending, but from the personal side, I'm happy. It's good to get it out of the way."
Belle Speaks, Via Media
Outfielder Albert Belle is moonlighting as a sportswriter. For a guy who seldom speaks to reporters, writing a column might seem like an odd sideline, but perhaps Belle wants to show how easy it is.
He will write an occasional piece for the Baltimore Press, a new tabloid. His first column was printed today and dealt with teacher salaries.
Belle provided statistics showing that the starting salary for engineers and computer science experts is greater than the a teacher's average salary of $25,735. Belle's parents were teachers, and he was a substitute teacher while attending LSU.
"Times have changed since my days as a substitute teacher," he wrote. "Would I choose substitute teaching as a way to put myself through college today? Or more so, if I were not a professional athlete, would I work full time as a teacher? The answer in both cases would be: No."