Ryan Minor arrived in the Baltimore Orioles' clubhouse this afternoon unsure how long he would be there, but sure of how nice it felt to be back.
Just three months ago, it appeared Minor had lost his place as Cal Ripken's eventual heir to Willis Otanez, another 25-year-old third base prospect. But with Otanez having departed, Minor having rediscovered his hitting stroke and Cal Ripken having suffered a deep bone bruise to his left wrist, Minor finds himself back in the majors, with a chance of staying there. And with a place in tonight's starting lineup.
"It was tough" seeing Otanez move past him in the farm system, Minor said. "But that's the way baseball is. There are not a lot of things I control. I can only control what I do on the field. I couldn't let that bother me a lot. I've seen people let it bother them, and it affected the way they performed."
Ripken's injury will be reevaluated on Monday. But today Manager Ray Miller said the club still believes there is no fracture. "It's just a deep bruise," Miller said. "Knowing Cal, he'll be ready to go Monday."
There is a chance Minor could remain with the Orioles even when Ripken returns. The flurry of roster moves Friday -- in which reliever Rocky Coppinger was traded, reliever Gabe Molina sent down, reliever Ricky Bones activated and Minor recalled -- left the Orioles with 11 pitchers for the first time this season.
Miller said he may keep 11 pitchers as long as the starting pitching continues to excel. That would allow him to carry an extra position player, which Miller said would be an infielder, perhaps Minor.
"I'm anxious to see how Ryan plays," Miller said.
"This is the first year the organization hasn't traded away all its best prospects. It's the first time we've ever had people here to [bring up]. Last year, every time we had a pitching injury, we'd be calling up a six-year minor league free agent who's been released by seven clubs. Now we call up some pretty good players."
Second baseman Delino DeShields, who is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, took a day off from his minor league rehabilitation assignment to receive treatment at Camden Yards. He was scheduled to play Sunday for Class A Frederick, and a decision on his return could be made as early as Monday. . . .
Miller had some last parting words for Coppinger, who was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named. "No matter who you play for, there's a little bit of accountability," Miller said. "You have to give somebody something back. Rocky wanted to pitch more, but he had [21 2/3] innings, had given up 25 hits, eight homers and  runs, let alone the  walks. You have to get something back.
"He does have a 95-mph arm. Personally, I think he can pitch somewhere and pitch well. But in my opinion, with the extra weight he carries, as long as he continues to pitch at 270 pounds, I don't know how he's going to keep the ball down and be consistent."