Notes: Mora works his way back
Third baseman practices running drills on sprained left foot
BOSTON -- The Orioles put Melvin Mora through his paces on Wednesday, making sure the injured third baseman could run on his sprained left foot. Mora missed virtually all of July healing from the injury and showed no ill effects Wednesday, when he practiced running the bases in every imaginable scenario.
Mora ran from home to first and from first-to-third, and he practiced tagging up from third base and attempting to get a good jump on the pitcher from first. He ran so well that the Orioles are just about ready to send him on a brief Minor League rehab stint with designs on activating him either Sunday or at the start of next week's homestand.
"Melvin ran the bases today, ran them real good. He ran hard," said manager Dave Trembley. "I talked to Melvin today about going out on a rehab for a couple of days, and I think that's what's going to happen."
Mora had previously vacillated on whether he thought a rehab stint was necessary, contending that his batting stroke was unimpaired because he'd hurt his foot -- not his hands or his wrists. However, he also said that he'd do whatever the team felt necessary, and after a conversation with Trembley, they made a unified decision to be as careful as possible.
"I talked to him today and said, 'I want to make some plans of what we want to do when you come in tomorrow," said Trembley, "'Because I'm assuming if you're not sore when you get all checked out, then they are going to give you clearance.' I said that I would like [Mora] to go out for a couple of days and play. I presented how we wanted to do it, and he was fine with it."
Mora, when approached by reporters, denied knowledge of what the team wanted him to do but answered questions about his foot genially. He said that he didn't feel any pain on the basepaths and that he was able to run full-speed. In fact, at one point, Mora joked that he thought he was running faster than noted speedster Corey Patterson.
"I felt a lot better. I just needed to run the bases and I felt good," Mora said in the pregame hours. "I just need to get in a game and see what happens. I need to continue to do treatment."
Back in business: Reliever Danys Baez returned to the team Wednesday, leaving behind an illness that had forced him to miss Tuesday's game. Baez had felt ill back in Baltimore and wasn't able to fly with the team on Monday, and Trembley thought it would be prudent to allow him to recover back at the hotel on Tuesday night.
"Danys Baez is available," Trembley said. "And I knew he was available today when I saw the size of the lunch he was having. He's got his appetite back. That's usually the first sign when someone has had a viral thing."
Baez said he couldn't eat and that he felt weak Tuesday but said he'd be well enough to pitch Wednesday. His absence had caused a domino effect in Baltimore's bullpen, forcing Trembley to go with Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker longer than he'd usually like. The strategy worked, though, and Baez said he watched the game from his hotel room.
"It was a great game," he said. "I was a little mad that I wasn't there, but it was a good game. Everybody pitched well and everybody played well. The team looked great out there."
Extra cuts: Aubrey Huff was out before the game taking extra batting practice, and Trembley said they may have found a slight flaw in his approach. Trembley said that Huff had been crouching too much at the plate and that the Orioles want him to be a little more upright -- taller, in his words -- at the plate.
Huff sprayed the ball all over the park in the batting practice session -- off the wall and over the fence to all fields -- and Baltimore gave him the night off to let it sink in. The veteran has struggled this season, batting just .248 with six home runs through his first 99 games.
"We need to get him in a better position to drive the baseball," Trembley said. "He's hit a lot of fly ball outs to left field. He's gotten out and around a lot of balls and probably hit in a lot of double plays because of it. I thought his session was pretty good today and we'll probably get him in there tomorrow."
Quotable: "[Miguel] Tejada tried to give it to him a little bit, told him that we're sending him 15 days to [Class A] Bluefield. But I told him that we're not going to do that." -- Trembley, on Mora's rehab assignment
Coming up: The Orioles and Red Sox will conclude their series at Fenway Park in a Thursday matinee at 1:05 p.m. ET that pits Jeremy Guthrie against knuckleballing veteran Tim Wakefield.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.