In just three days, first baseman-designated hitter Alejandro Freire has become a favorite of Baltimore Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo. For the third consecutive game, Freire was in the starting lineup Thursday. The 30-year-old, who was called up from Class AAA Ottawa on Tuesday, collected his first major league hit Wednesday night.

"He gets up here and he's not afraid to swing the bat," Perlozzo said. "I kind of like that. The guys kind of like him, he seems to be a real nice man and he kind of fits in. He lets it fly up there. I am glad that he just got his first hit so he would quit trying to make it a homer."

Freire was recommended to the Orioles by third baseman Melvin Mora, who has known Freire since the two were in the Houston Astros' camp in Venezuela as 16-year-olds. Based on Mora's recommendation, the Orioles signed Freire to a minor league deal.

"We've played together a bunch of times," Freire said of Mora. "He's the one that got me signed here. I'm pretty thankful for that."

In 106 games with Ottawa, Freire batted .299 with 19 homers and 69 RBI.

Cummings Released

Outfielder Midre Cummings, who was recalled from Ottawa on Aug. 2, was designated for assignment in order to make room for first baseman Rafael Palmeiro. Cummings was hitless in his two at-bats. . . . The Orioles have not yet decided on a starting pitcher for Saturday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Reliever Eric DuBose and Ottawa pitcher John Maine appear to have the best chance to fill Sidney Ponson's spot.

"Those are the only two options I know of," Perlozzo said.