The Baltimore Orioles' starting lineup, reduced by injuries and the loss of the designated hitter in National League parks, recovered a measure of normalcy tonight when first baseman Will Clark and center fielder Brady Anderson returned to the lineup against Philadelphia right-handed all-star Paul Byrd.
Clark has been out of the starting lineup since July 1 with a sore left knee, although he has been used as a pinch hitter in the last three games.
Both players told Manager Ray Miller this afternoon that they were ready to play. But because Veterans Stadium has artificial turf, Miller made them both promise to be "super-honest" with him. " 'I don't want to lose you,' " Miller told them. " 'If it starts bothering you, say something and we'll get you out of there.' "
Miller said he almost started Clark on Friday night against Phillies ace Curt Schilling (against whom Clark is 3 for 19 lifetime), but Clark said the knee still felt slightly sore. "I didn't want to risk losing him," Miller said.
Anderson came out of Thursday's 11-6 loss to Toronto in Baltimore in the seventh inning with a strained hamstring and did not start here Friday night in a 4-2 loss to the Phillies, lining out as a pinch hitter.
The loss of Anderson and Clark, coupled with the unavailability of designated hitter Harold Baines, left the Orioles with only one left-handed bat (B.J. Surhoff) in the lineup Friday night.
"It's tough to go with only one left-handed hitter against two top right-handed pitchers," Miller said, "especially when you're playing without the DH."
As the Rotation Turns
Even though Thursday, the first game after the all-star break, falls on Mike Mussina's schedule of pitching every fifth day, Miller said the Orioles will start Sidney Ponson instead and give Mussina an extra day of rest.
The decision was made because Mussina likely will pitch an inning in Tuesday's All-Star Game. Even though Tuesday is Mussina's normal day to throw in the bullpen, Miller doesn't want to be forced to make a late change if for some reason Mussina pitches more than anticipated Tuesday night.
Scott Erickson, Juan Guzman and Jason Johnson will follow Ponson and Mussina in the second-half rotation.