Notes: Mora may skip rehab stint
Decision on nature of third baseman's return to be collaborative
BALTIMORE -- Melvin Mora is nearing the end of his recovery from a sprained left foot, and the Orioles are nearing a decision on whether to activate him without pushing him through a Minor League rehab stint. The third baseman said he'd do whatever the team wanted, but interim manager Dave Trembley said he'd consult Mora before making up his mind.
However, Trembley also said that he thought a rehab stint is standard for a player who missed so much time. Mora has had just two at-bats since July 2 and has been on the disabled list since the second game after the All-Star break.
"We all need to make a decision," said Trembley, indicating that it would be a collaborative effort. "When he comes back, I would hope he comes back 100 percent. Whether he goes out on a rehab [stint] or not, that has yet to be determined. ... I don't make that call. I believe there is some kind of rule that a guy that has played so long can either accept a rehab assignment or not.
"I'm hoping that Melvin will want to go play in a couple of games somewhere before he comes here."
Mora said that he'd be more willing to play in a few Minor League games if he had hurt his hand or his shoulder, but he's fairly certain that his swing hasn't atrophied enough to make that necessary. The two-time All-Star said that his final test is to run the basepaths without pain, and once he can do that, he'd prefer to move right back into the big-league lineup.
"I could hit a bloop anyway," he said. "You see people play every day and go 0-for-4. I know when you hurt your hand or your shoulder, it's kind of difficult because you don't know how you're feeling. Timing you get from timing a big-league guy, because you know what they're going to throw you. Sometimes, when you go to the Minor Leagues, it's hard."
Mora said that he hasn't felt any pain when taking batting practice or fielding ground balls. The veteran went on to say that facing Minor League pitchers is problematic because they don't always have great control and can disrupt a hitter's timing even more. When asked point-blank if he needed to go on a rehab assignment, Mora wriggled out of the line of fire.
"I didn't hurt my hand, but whatever they want me to do, I'll do," Mora said before sharing his opinion. "I feel fine. I'll have to think about it, depending on how I feel hitting in the next couple days."
Trembley said that Mora would make the trip to Boston with the team, but he also said that it's not safe to read anything into that. The two men will discuss the issue, and Trembley is sure to cite the recent precedent set by shortstop Miguel Tejada, who missed five weeks with a fracture in his left wrist and played two rehab games before making his return.
"Just like Tejada, he missed a lot of time," Trembley said. "[Tejada] chose the path to go play in a couple of games in the Minor Leagues first. I would think that would seem to be reasonable for Melvin to do also. [But] he knows himself better than I do."
Kudos: Trembley was asked on Sunday about comments made by Yankees manager Joe Torre on Saturday night that painted a flattering portrait of the way Baltimore has played since its managerial switch. Trembley, one of seven all-time big-league managers with no professional playing experience, has led the O's to a 20-14 record thus far.
"It's rather humbling, to be honest with you," Trembley said of the praise from Torre, who led the Yankees to four World Series titles in a five-year stretch from 1996-2000. "Joe Torre is the best of the best. You learn from watching the way he does things. The respect that he's earned from the game and from his players, for him to recognize us for what we are trying to do here is very nice."
Trembley said the success is due to a back-to-the-basics approach combined with a healthy respect for his players. He has an open mind about some things and will change if asked, but a rigid approach to preparation and accountability. He wants his players to arrive early and work hard, and if they do that, they can do no wrong in his eyes.
"Just keep playing the game the right way all the time," Trembley said. "Keep doing things the right way all the time. That's how you get respect from Joe Torre. That's how you get respect from you guys that are covering the club. That's why when people say to me, 'Do you see a recognizable difference?' you guys are asking the wrong guy. What do you see? Tell me what you see. I'm not living in a glass house. I'm not patting myself on the back. I'm not doing it -- they are doing it."
Fame game: Trembley was asked if he thought that Cal Ripken Jr.'s induction to the Hall of Fame -- scheduled for the same time as Sunday's game -- had breathed new life into his team. Baltimore went into Sunday with six straight wins, and fans will be able to watch a re-broadcast of the icon's induction speech on the scoreboard after the game.
"It was fun at the beginning of the homestand to have Cal Ripken here," Trembley said. "It was fun to have a lot of prominent players and people here. It's been great having a lot of people coming this week and watching the games. I'd like to think they are here because they are Orioles fans. ... I think it's been good for the players. That's what it's all about.
"Anything that is good for the players, I'm all for. Anything that is good for the fans, I'm all for."
Quotable: "I told them the first day I took over, I will not compromise -- be on time, be professional, respect the game -- for no one. I will not compromise that. If that's a tough guy, if that's being the heavy, so be it." -- Trembley, on the unified message he presented to his team early in his tenure
Coming up: The Orioles will get an off-day Monday before resuming their season with the opener of a three-game set at Fenway Park on Tuesday. The first game features a matchup between O's ace Erik Bedard (10-4, 3.05 ERA) and Boston's Josh Beckett (13-4, 3.27 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.