Help for the Baltimore Orioles' ailing lineup may be only days away, with designated hitter David Segui set to make a one-game rehabilitation assignment Friday with Class A Frederick. If there are no setbacks, Segui will be activated from the disabled list for Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox.

Segui has been out since March 21 with a fracture at the base of his right thumb.

Three games into the season, Manager Mike Hargrove already has found it difficult to piece together a representative lineup. Left fielder Marty Cordova was unavailable tonight for a second consecutive game because of a lower back strain.

Cordova had a cortisone injection and an MRI exam today, but results from the MRI will not be available until Friday. The Orioles refer to Cordova's situation as day-to-day, but it is possible they could place him on the disabled list Saturday -- when Segui is activated -- if he is still shelved at that point.

"There's always that possibility," Hargrove said of Cordova possibly going on the DL. "But I don't anticipate having to do that."

With Cordova unavailable tonight, Hargrove essentially was working with a one-man bench, consisting of struggling outfielder B.J. Surhoff, who was benched tonight after going 0 for 9 in the season's first two games.

Shortstop prospect Jose Morban -- who must be kept on the active roster if the Orioles are to retain him -- is available, but the Orioles plan to use him as little as possible. And catcher Geronimo Gil, on the bench tonight in favor of Brook Fordyce, would be used only in an emergency.

Surhoff's Slow Start

Surhoff said he was disappointed in the quality of his at-bats in the Orioles' first two games, but said he is not concerned about his poor start. "I've had much worse starts," he said.

"You watch B.J., and he's doing things I hadn't seen him do in the last 10 years," Hargrove said. "It's obvious he's pressing, trying to get things going real quick. He'll settle in, as everyone will, and give us consistent at-bats." . . .

There have been only 14 North Dakota natives reach the majors in baseball history, but two of them faced each other tonight, when Indians rookie first baseman Travis Hafner came to the plate against Orioles right-hander Rick Helling.