Outfielder Larry Bigbie will begin a rehabilitation assignment Wednesday with Class AAA Ottawa and likely will remain with the minor league team until at least Sunday. Bigbie, who was placed on the disabled list on May 28 with a strained left hamstring, said he is pain free.

"If I felt anything, they wouldn't let me go," Bigbie said.

Manager Lee Mazzilli said Bigbie would be reinserted into the lineup, though he didn't say where. B.J. Surhoff, in Bigbie's place in left field, is the team's hottest hitter with a .415 average in the past 10 games. Bigbie, who is hitting .241 with no home runs, also could play center field.

"It's been tough even when I was in the lineup because we were playing good ball, but I haven't done my end of the deal," Bigbie said. . . .

Second baseman Brian Roberts continues to progress but likely won't start again until Friday. He did pinch-hit Tuesday night, flying out in the ninth inning.

One Year Later . . .

Baltimore's first-round pick last year, pitcher Wade Townsend, decided to go back to school instead of signing with the Orioles because he was unhappy with their $1.7 million offer.

On Monday, Wade took several shots at the team in a television interview with a Houston station.

"At this point, I'm thrilled to death," he said. "I'm super healthy, I can go with a better team. Whoever drafts me is a team I would like to be with over the team that drafted me last year. This year I don't care where I go. When my name is called I will be happy with whatever team takes me."

Townsend was selected by Tampa Bay with the eighth overall pick. Because he did not sign a consent to reselect form, the Orioles could not have picked him in this year's draft.

"I wish him well," Orioles scouting director Joe Jordan said. "We got a compensatory pick for him. That's the only thing that's relevant."