Orioles send Palmeiro on rehab stint

Orioles send Palmeiro on rehab stint

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles decided Monday to send ailing and troubled slugger Rafael Palmeiro home to Texas for rehabilitation of his knee and ankle injuries. There is no scheduled return date, although Palmeiro has said he wants to play again this season.

Palmeiro, who has a right knee strain and sore ankle, said he was OK with the idea and did not want to be a distraction. Palmeiro, who was suspended for 10 days on Aug. 1, was showered with boos during an Aug. 31 game with the Toronto Blue Jays and began wearing earplugs during his second at-bat. Palmeiro hasn't played since that game because of injuries, but he also alluded to the unfriendly gestures and remarks he has weathered the past few weeks.

"It was [the Orioles'] idea, we talked about it and I think it's a good idea," he said. "Oh yeah, for sure, I'll be back. I'm not sure how long I'll be back."

The Orioles play two more home games with Toronto before a six-game road trip to Seattle and Texas that would have been difficult at best for Palmeiro. He reached the 3,000-hit mark on July 15 at Safeco Field and was embraced graciously by the Mariners fans, but that was two weeks before the announcement that Palmeiro had violated Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Policy.

Palmeiro calls Texas home, as he enjoyed some of his best years there. He also hit his 500th home run with the Rangers and has always been a fan favorite in Arlington.

"I think that if I stay with the team and travel with the team, it's always going to be a distraction there, going back to Seattle and going back to Texas, where I haven't been," he said. "I think [my] being in Toronto was a big distraction to our team. We need to try to avoid that as much as we can."

Palmeiro admitted that the rude reception from fans and the perception of mistrust has been difficult.

"I've never had to deal with anything like this, so I don't know what to expect," he said. "But it's been really hard."

Interim manager Sam Perlozzo said the team will monitor his progress and keep in constant contact.

"We definitely feel like he's going to play again this year," Perlozzo said. "We'll keep in touch with him. I'd like to see him get back for the last 10 [games], anyway. I think Raffy believes he might be a little distraction, but it doesn't bother me. If he's not playing and he's here, he's really not a distraction anyway."

Perlozzo is making no promises about playing time or a grand farewell in the final days of the season.

"Raffy doesn't want to shut it down yet," he said. "I'm not going to tell you that I'm going to play him a lot. ... He doesn't want to walk away from this thing without playing again. If he's healthy enough, we'll address that. If he looks like he can help us with a couple of at-bats, we'll see what happens."

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