Notes: Gibbons is 'sore all over'

O's notes: Gibbons sore after crash

ANAHEIM -- Jay Gibbons wasn't just out of the lineup on Saturday, he was out of uniform in the hours before the game. Baltimore's right fielder, who injured himself in a key play on Friday night, had to leave Angel Stadium to get an MRI exam on his right knee. The extent of the injury is still uncertain, but Gibbons will get three days off to let things calm down.

"I'm sore all over, but I'm getting an MRI on my knee for precautionary reasons," he said. "I'm having some issues behind the knee and stuff like that, and I'd better get it done now because of the holiday."

Gibbons said he also feels pain in his hamstring, which is consistent with an injury behind the knee. Richie Bancells, Baltimore's head trainer, explained the relationship between the joint and the muscle.

"It's the posterior portion of his knee and the distal portion of his hamstring. Your hamstring acts to do two things -- extend the leg and flex the knee," he said. "He had abrasions and stuff on the front of his knee, as well as some mild effusion there -- some swelling -- which tells me he probably hit the front of his knee and hyperextended it back.

"So I just want to make sure the structures in the back of the knee are sound."

It turns out they are. The MRI came back negative and showed Gibbons has nothing more than a sprained knee.

Gibbons hurt himself on a tailing line drive to short right field that ended up as a tiebreaking inside-the-park homer for Vladimir Guerrero in a 5-2 Orioles loss. The left-hander dove in an attempt to cut the ball off, but he missed and landed hard against the wall along the foul line. He sought treatment for several injuries after the game, including a sore trapezius muscle, a strained left hip flexor and back spasms.

One day later, the knee is the biggest irritant.

"It's part of what was bothering him last night, but it's bothering him more today," said Bancells. "It's probably the thing that's the most bothersome, the most outstanding, the part we're most concerned with right now."

Some outside circumstances also play into the outfielder's recovery. Gibbons was planning on leaving the team Sunday to attend his mother's funeral, and with an off-day on Monday, he wasn't expected to rejoin the Orioles until Tuesday. That means he won't be able to go through the requisite treatment program, which could set him back a few days.

"I am not sure he's going to be ready Tuesday," said Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo. "Maybe it would expedite the recovery if we were treating him, but that's just a situation you don't have control over."

Perlozzo shuffled his outfield Saturday night, starting Luis Matos in left field and Nick Markakis in right. Prior to that game, Matos had five starts in left field and Markakis had four starts in right.

Coming up short: Kris Benson will start Sunday on short rest, something he's never done in his big-league career. The right-hander made just 60 pitches in his last start and was pulled after two innings, which set things up perfectly for the series finale against the Angels.

"Considering that we threw 60 pitches last time, and the shortage of starters right now, it's pretty much a no-brainer," he said. "I feel pretty good about the way I felt the other day. Things haven't really changed that much between the past few days. I'm still feeling good. Why not just go ahead and get it out of the way and get back on schedule?

"I won't have a day off for a long time, till the end of June. It's a good time to get back on track."

Benson said pitching on short rest won't disrupt his routine. In fact, counter-intuitively, he said it may even give him more rest than if he pitched on his normal day.

"I was able to just throw my one bullpen [session] in between my starts," he said. "If anything, it gave me a little rest, because I didn't stick to my same program. I didn't do any weights or any long-toss or anything like that."

Still, despite that progress report, Perlozzo said he'll watch Benson carefully.

"I might have to," he said. "I am going to be close to it if the pitch-count gets a little bit sooner. We certainly don't want to lose him. Kris is pretty honest. I don't think he's going to do something that he doesn't feel good about."

Shuffling starters: Perlozzo reiterated that he's not sure who will pitch June 3 -- the next time Daniel Cabrera's rotation slot comes up -- and that the Orioles may make a roster move on Monday or Tuesday. That move would likely involve prospect Adam Loewen, who has pitched just once since joining the parent club earlier in the week.

"That's the opening right now," Perlozzo said about June 3. "Things could happen. We could always possibly maneuver again. I think today and tomorrow will dictate where that spot's going to come. We have to decide what we are going to do. We have some maneuverability, depending on how the next two games go."

If John Halama doesn't have to pitch in relief over the next few days, he'd likely be in line for that start. Halama got a spot start against the Mariners and pitched five strong innings -- strong enough to get the win.

Quotable: "I'm trying not to think about that right now" -- Perlozzo's response to who would replace Gibbons if he was lost for an extended period of time

Coming up: The Orioles and Angels will meet one last time on Sunday, with Benson matched up against the Angels' Kelvim Escobar. After that, Baltimore will have an off-day Monday and a home series against Tampa Bay starting Tuesday.

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