Baltimore Orioles Manager Ray Miller, repeating information he was given from trainer Richie Bancells, said today that third baseman Cal Ripken might need to stay on the disabled list longer than previously expected.

On Monday, both Miller and Ripken said they were hopeful Ripken could return to the Orioles at home Aug. 17, the first day he is eligible to come off the disabled list.

Today Miller said that prognosis might have been optimistic. "Richie said he isn't so sure [Ripken] can come back on time," Miller said. "I don't know what basis Richie has to think that, but that's what he said."

Ripken went on the DL on Aug. 3 with nerve irritation in his lower back. He was not available to comment today, but is accompanying the team on its road trip.

Miller had no prediction for when Ripken might return. However, if Ripken is out for more than 15 days, the possibility of a minor league rehabilitation assignment grows stronger.

When Ripken came back from his first stint on the disabled list, April 20-May 13, he did a two-day rehabilitation assignment at the Orioles' minor league camp in Sarasota, Fla.

Minor Improvement

Rookie third baseman Ryan Minor, filling in while Ripken is on the disabled list, had the best game of his short major league career Tuesday, going 3 for 5 with a double and a run batted in.

Miller and batting coach Terry Crowley were particularly impressed with the third hit, in which Minor slapped a tough 3-2 breaking pitch into center field for an RBI single. "Crow was so excited when [Minor] hit that pitch," Miller said, "he nearly hit his head on the [dugout] ceiling." . . .

As promised, Miller gave shortstop Mike Bordick a rest by holding him out of tonight's starting lineup. Jeff Reboulet started at shortstop, and second baseman Delino DeShields moved into Bordick's No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Bordick matched career highs with four hits and five RBI on Tuesday night. Before tonight, he had played in all but one of the Orioles' 113 games. . . .

Reliever Mike Fetters, on the 60-day disabled list following elbow surgery in June, threw in the bullpen before the game, working in a few sliders for the first time. He could be activated when rosters expand Sept. 1.