Notes: O's have patchwork rotation

Notes: O's have patchwork rotation

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have confronted a shortage of starting pitchers by burning a direct line from the waiver wire to the rotation, a path used by recent claims Victor Santos and Victor Zambrano. Both Santos and Zambrano are part of the team's effort to work through injuries to staff ace Erik Bedard and rookie contributors Jeremy Guthrie and Garrett Olson.

Baltimore has also had Kris Benson, Adam Loewen and Jaret Wright on the sidelines since early in the season. The current staff -- Santos, Zambrano, Daniel Cabrera, Jon Leicester and Brian Burres -- has combined for 16 wins this season. Zambrano has never pitched for the Orioles, Santos debuted Tuesday night and Leicester has made just two starts this season.

"We certainly will try to do the best we can with what we have and be as competitive as we can possibly be these last 20 games," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, deflecting a question about the team's recent slide. "There's no sense making excuses or feeling sorry for yourself or anything like that. It is what it is."

Santos, who came over from the Cincinnati Reds, got knocked out early in his Baltimore debut Tuesday. Zambrano, who will pitch Saturday, came over from Pittsburgh and has logged a 10.97 ERA this season. Leicester has a 9.90 mark of his own, which could mean Baltimore is due for some high-scoring games in the next week.

The Orioles had hoped to have both Guthrie and Olson back in the rotation, but their injuries haven't healed enough to let them return. Guthrie's strained left oblique could realistically keep him out for the rest of the season -- much like Bedard's corresponding injury on his right oblique -- but Olson's tight left forearm should heal sometime soon.

"Olson may be able to pitch before the season's over," Trembley said. "There's probably a good likelihood of that occurring. The best-case [scenario] with Olson is he starts throwing later in the week -- and later in the week means Thursday or Friday."

The Orioles traded Steve Trachsel to the Cubs at the end of August, a move that pushed the pitching staff further into peril. Baltimore gave rookie Radhames Liz three starts before moving him to the bullpen when he struggled with his command. Next year, the Orioles are hoping to build a staff around Bedard, Guthrie, Cabrera and Loewen.

Gibbons fallout: Nobody in Baltimore's clubhouse wanted to discuss the Internet report regarding Jay Gibbons, who allegedly ordered steroids and human growth hormone from a company named Signature Pharmacy. Most players avoided their lockers Tuesday, and the Orioles issued a statement designed to protect Trembley from answering questions.

"With regards to the Jay Gibbons situation, we don't know anything official," said team spokeman Bill Stetka. "We haven't heard from the Commissioner's office [and] It continues to be inappropriate for us to comment on it at this time. ... We're just not in a position -- any of us -- to answer questions about Jay Gibbons."

Gibbons, who was also allegedly named in the Jason Grimsley affadavit, is currently rehabbing from a surgery to repair the labrum in his left shoulder and was unavailable for comment. Second baseman Brian Roberts -- Gibbons' closest friend on the team -- declined comment. Third baseman Melvin Mora addressed the topic, but said he didn't know much about it.

"Didn't they test him?" he asked. "If they get somebody with a positive test, it's supposed to be in the paper. If he's not positive, then what's the big deal about it? But I don't really know what's going on."

As of now, there is no way for players to be caught using human growth hormone. The teams are only allowed to test urine samples from each player, and there is no reliable way to test urine for the hormone in question.

In memory: The Orioles recognized the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in two ways Tuesday night. First, they had a Joint Service Color Guard presenting the colors out in the outfield, and they also had the U.S. Army chorus sing the national anthem. Everybody in the crowd was also asked to participate in a moment of silence.

Coming up: The Orioles and Angels will meet again Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET, and Cabrera (9-15, 5.11 ERA) will be matched up against Kelvim Escobar (16-7, 3.04 ERA). Cabrera has nine of the current rotation's 16 wins this season.

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