Orioles 7, Rockies 2
-- The joy had all but disappeared by the time reporters were allowed into the Baltimore Orioles' clubhouse almost 25 minutes after their 7-2 victory against the Colorado Rockies. A manager who rarely shows emotion had stopped celebrating and struggled to answer questions. Music played in the clubhouse, but there was no bounce in these Orioles. They had lost one of their most well-liked players, a utility outfielder, discounted for most of his career, but who at one point last season had been Baltimore's best player.
The Orioles won a game, but lost David Newhan to Class AAA Ottawa. In order to activate center fielder Luis Matos the Orioles had to make a roster move and Newhan, who had an option remaining, was the player sent down. It was not easy for the manager or the player, who both seemed overcome with emotion.
Manager Lee Mazzilli abruptly ended his postgame news conference because he did not think he could answer another question.
"It's the toughest when I have to make that move," Mazzilli said. "Yeah, we had to send a man down. He's a kid that was a big part of this team last year and he got a chance to play every day and he did a phenomenal job for us. This decision wasn't easy."
Newhan stayed away from his locker for almost an hour. When he did appear, he barely was able to speak. His voice, full of emotion, often trailed off. His eyes were red with tears.
"It's the story of my career, what can I say?" he said. "It's never been easy. I've always had every coach in my corner and I just get caught up in the business of it. It happened in San Diego, it happened here now.
"When I came over here, they were a mess. Since I've been a part of this club, they've played well over .500. I've been a big part of that, I think, not only on the field, but off the field. It's just one of those things; you get caught having an option. I'm the odd man out."
Baltimore was 27-35 when Newhan joined the Orioles last June 18. They are 91-76 since. He hit .413 in his first 33 games with the team. But this season, with only sparse playing time, Newhan was hitting .194 in 108 at-bats.
"Obviously my performance was not what I wanted it to be," Newhan said. "I got buried early and I didn't get back-to-back starts for a month and a half into the season. I got buried by a guy [Jeff Fiorentino] from A ball. That's just the way it goes. Be good or be gone.
"I don't feel I have to prove myself, but I have to get hits [in Ottawa]. I've done everything that I possibly can as a player in front of their eyes. So I don't know what more I need to prove. It's a matter of them feeling they have to go a certain way. I don't fit in their plans right now."
The win seemed almost moot almost immediately. A six-run fourth inning had helped Baltimore to increase their lead in the American League East to three games. The rally had begun, like so many Orioles rallies have in the past two seasons, with a shot into the heavens by Miguel Tejada that landed over the fence for a home run.
Sammy Sosa, who had grounded into a double play in the first inning to end a threat, followed Tejada's home run with one of his own. From the moment Sosa struck the ball, Tejada, in the dugout, waved at the ball to travel farther. The harder Tejada waved, the farther the ball went, until it landed over the right field fence.
"I wanted to see Sammy's ball go out, too," Tejada said. "I was joking. After I saw the ball, I knew it was going to go over."
It was Sosa's ninth home run of the year and the 583rd of his career, which tied him with Mark McGwire for sixth place all time.
"It's something I know I can get more," Sosa said. "I'm not going to stop here."
Newhan had missed Sosa in the clubhouse. He appeared only several moments later. He began to pack his things and ready himself for Ottawa. The team promised he would be asked back soon.
"That remains to be seen," Newhan said. "It's a lot easier to tell somebody that than to tell somebody they're going down and they're not coming back. Bottom line, I have to go down and I have to go hit and put pressure on them to bring me back. Or somebody has to get hurt and they have to be in a bind where they have to bring me back. That's the way it is."
Sosa's homer was the 583rd of his career, tying him with Mark McGwire.Miguel Tejada reaches first safely as the Rockies' Todd Helton is unable to come up with an errant throw.