Lopez broke his right hand on May 24 during a 3-2 victory over Seattle. The catcher went on the disabled list the following day,
and Baltimore went 22-31 without him.
The Orioles (50-47) entered Monday night's game against Texas mired in a five-game losing streak that included four games in which they scored just two runs.
"I'm just hoping that I can bring that missing piece to the
team, and can motivate and help them defensively and offensively.
That's my main goal here," Lopez said. "Hopefully, I can bring a
Sal Fasano, who's hitting .250 with nine homers, played well in place of Lopez. But the Orioles' lineup is more of a threat with Lopez, who was batting .278 with seven homers and 22 RBI at the time of the injury.
"Fasano did a great job for us, but Javy will fit right into
the middle of the lineup," outfielder Larry Bigbie said.
Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said, "Putting Javy in there kind of balanced out the lineup. It's been a while since I've had my regular guys."
Lopez, who batted sixth Monday against the Rangers, hoped to have the same positive effect that Sammy Sosa did when he returned earlier this season from a 16-game stay on the disabled list.
"When Sosa went on the DL, the team kind of needed him. When he
got back in the lineup, the team had a totally different spirit and
totally different energy," he said. "That's what I'm hoping to
bring to the team from now on, so we can do a quick turnaround."
To make room for Lopez on the 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned catcher Eli Whiteside to Triple-A Ottawa. Whiteside hit .375 over eight games during his first trip to the majors.
"It was a great experience, even though I didn't play much," he said, recalling his first trip to Yankee Stadium and initial big-league start, at home against Boston. "Hopefully, it will be beneficial when I come back."