The Baltimore Orioles placed catcher Geronimo Gil on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb Sunday, almost a full month from the day he first suffered the injury.

Gil had started nine games since he hurt his thumb against Detroit on June 4, but the finger swelled up badly after he played in Saturday's 4-0 win over the Cleveland Indians. To replace Gil, the Orioles brought up catcher Eli Whiteside from Class AAA Ottawa.

Gil's "hand looked worse [yesterday] than it was before, and it's just not improving," Manager Lee Mazzilli said. "We just thought that two weeks of rest would be the best thing. He really hasn't gotten better since the injury."

As a result, Whiteside earned his first trip to the major leagues. The Orioles drafted Whiteside, who's hitting .263, in the sixth round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, but he only made it to Ottawa this season. He likely will be with the Orioles until catcher Javy Lopez recovers from a broken right hand.

Lopez took live batting practice Tuesday and could make a minor league rehabilitation start later this week.

Sosa Will Be Back in Lineup

Mazzilli left Sammy Sosa out of the lineup Sunday for the second consecutive game, but said Sosa will play Monday against the New York Yankees.

"We gave him some rest, but [Monday] he'll definitely play," Mazzilli said of Sosa, who has one hit in his last 34 at-bats. "He'll play. He'll go every day and get back to what he does best." . . .

If their recent trend continues, the Orioles may struggle to break out of their slump on the road, where they've lost 10 of their last 12 games.