Baltimore catcher Geronimo Gil's left thumb injury, which occurred on two foul tips in Saturday's win against the Detroit Tigers, likely won't keep him out for an extended time. But the injury does bring up an interesting question: Who would play catcher in an emergency situation if Sal Fasano was hurt?
Manager Lee Mazzilli offered B.J. Surhoff, who was drafted as a catcher in 1985. But Surhoff hasn't caught since 1995 and has a bad right knee after having anterior cruciate ligament surgery in 2002. First base coach and catching instructor Rick Dempsey said perhaps outfielder David Newhan could be an option.
Newhan chuckled when asked if he would be up for the task.
"I could put the gear on the right way," Newhan said. "I have a heartbeat and I'm on the bench and my knee isn't as bad as B.J.'s."
Newhan said he caught some bullpen sessions while at Cypress (Calif.) Junior College.
"But it's like 'Star Wars,' " Newhan said. "A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away."
Mazzilli gave Surhoff the day off despite the fact the outfielder was Baltimore's hottest hitter. Surhoff was 16 for 37 (.432) in his previous nine games.
"He's been going hard lately," Mazzilli said. "You can't push him all the time."
Mazzilli said he hoped to give 40-year-old Rafael Palmeiro a day off also.
"I don't have enough players to do it," Mazzilli said. . . .
Dempsey expressed regret that former teammate Eddie Murray was fired as the Cleveland Indians' hitting coach on Saturday.
"Something must have gone wrong," he said. "You don't take a Hall of Fame guy and fire him during the season. There has to be a lot more to it. At worst you allow him to quit on his own." . . .
Though second baseman Brian Roberts might be ready to rejoin the lineup today, Mazzilli said he might hold him back another day.
"He's got to really convince me," Mazzilli said. . . .
Chris Gomez, who began his career with Detroit in 1993, had two hits and has now hit safely in 17 of his 20 games with an at-bat this season. Gomez has the distinction of being the only player to win the media's Tigers Rookie of the Year award twice. "That's just the player I am," Gomez joked.