Notes: 'Tough' roster move awaits

Notes: 'Tough' roster move awaits

SEATTLE -- With Erik Bedard set to come off the disabled list Monday to make a start against the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles are going to have to make a corresponding roster move to make room for the left-hander.

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli would not offer much insight into the decision, only saying that it would be "tough."

The Orioles likely will have to shave a pitcher from their staff and the most likely candidates are right-hander James Baldwin and left-hander Tim Byrdak. But there are repercussions to either move.

Being a tenured veteran, Baldwin has the right to reject any Minor League assignment if he is optioned to Triple-A Ottawa and he would have to be exposed to waivers. He has been a valuable commodity as the long reliever, allowing just four runs in 22 1/3 innings with a .218 opponent's batting average.

The Orioles also don't have a long relief candidate to replace Baldwin if he designated for assignment.

Byrdak, meanwhile, was shifted to the primary left-handed reliever when Steve Kline began faltering. He has seen limited action, allowing two runs in 4 2/3 innings. Byrdak does have Minor League options but sending him back to Ottawa would make Kline the primary lefty reliever again, a role he has not executed this season.

Kline is 2-3 with a 5.57 ERA and is allowing lefties to hit .333 with four home runs. Mazzilli would not hint at who would be the one to go.

Pitching coach Ray Miller said he expects Bedard to go about five or six innings. The left-hander has missed the past two months with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

"The good thing is he's kept his arm in good shape," Miller said. "I don't expect him to be any different than he was before. I saw him pitch in his first rehab start and I liked what I saw."

Lineup shuffle: Mazzilli gave Sammy Sosa the day off Sunday and inserted B.J. Surhoff at first base while Rafael Palmeiro was the designated hitter. It was Surhoff's second start of the season at first base while Palmeiro made his 12th start at DH. If you recall, Palmeiro was supposed to be the team's full-time DH this season.

Sosa batted second for the past three games and was 4-for-14 in that spot with a double and two RBIs. He is hitting .203 with four homers and 41 RBIs since coming off the disabled list May 24. He has not homered since tying Mark McGwire for sixth all-time on June 18, a stretch of 20 games.

Sosa had not gone 20 games without a home run since ending the 1991 season on a 20-game homerless streak and beginning the 1992 season with a 26-game streak.

Larry Bigbie batted second on Sunday against Seattle's Gil Meche. Bigbie entered the game 5-for-28 with one extra-base hit in the No. 2 slot and made outs in his first two at-bats Sunday.

Minnesota series: The pitching matchups have been announced for the three-game series with the Twins beginning Monday night at the Metrodome. Bedard (5-1, 2.08 ERA) will take on right-hander Carlos Silva (7-3, 3.53) in the opener; right-hander Daniel Cabrera (8-7, 4.70) faces right-hander Kyle Lohse (7-8, 4.42) on Tuesday while right-hander Rodrigo Lopez (9-5, 4.50) opposes right-hander Brad Radke (6-9, 4.00) in Wednesday's finale.

Penn struggling: Hayden Penn is not making a smooth transition back to Double-A Bowie. A name often mentioned in trade rumors, Penn is 3-4 with a 4.04 ERA for Bowie and was pulled from his start Friday night after allowing three home runs in three innings. Penn is believed to be part of discussions with the Florida Marlins regarding A.J. Burnett.

Meanwhile, Walter Young's 12th home run was the lone highlight as Triple-A Ottawa dropped a 7-1 decision to Pawtucket on Sunday in Canada. Former Florida Marlins pitcher Chuck Smith allowed three runs in four innings in his Lynx debut.

Gary Washburn is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.