Today's trade of designated hitter Harold Baines allowed the Baltimore Orioles to call up left-handed pitching prospect B.J. Ryan a few days sooner than expected from Class AAA Rochester, but not in time to aid the bullpen in tonight's game, in which the Orioles were filling in for ace Mike Mussina with a committee of relievers.
Because of a Blue Angels performance that shut down the Rochester airport this weekend, Ryan could not get away until this evening, and was expected to arrive in Detroit well after game time.
Even though the Orioles need a starter more than a reliever, at least until Mussina returns, Manager Ray Miller lobbied for Ryan, a 23-year-old left-hander whom the Orioles acquired from Cincinnati in the Juan Guzman deal last month. Ryan was 0-0 with one save and 2.51 earned run average in 11 appearances at Rochester.
"I really wanted to see Ryan," Miller said.
Today's trade also left the Orioles with a stunningly powerless bench, consisting of backup catcher Mike Figga, infielder Jeff Reboulet and outfielder Rich Amaral -- who, combined, have one home run.
Derrick May replaced Baines in the lineup as designated hitter tonight, but Miller said he plans to use the DH as a way to rest some of his regulars in the days to come. The Orioles are expected to call up as many as five position players when rosters expand on Sept. 1.
"I'll use [the DH] to give everybody a break here or there," Miller said. "I offered it to [B.J.] Surhoff today, but he said, `Check with me tomorrow.' "
Ripken Takes Fielding
Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken took ground balls on the field before tonight's game for the first time since going on the disabled list Aug. 1, then made a ceremonial appearance in uniform, presenting the lineup card at home plate before the game.
Ripken has yet to give a timetable for his return to the lineup, but he guessed it would be about a week after beginning baseball activities. Since Ripken has been taking batting practice for the last four days, that could put him back in the lineup during next week's homestand, assuming he has no setbacks. . . .
Mussina, who missed tonight's start after being hit in the right shoulder by a line drive in his previous start, attempted to throw for the first time on Thursday, but reported that his shoulder was still tight.