Mora inserted into O's starting lineup
Mora was placed on the DL with a strained left hamstring on April 15 (retroactive to April 13) and was eligible to return Tuesday. Baltimore wanted him to test his leg in a rehab stint with Triple-A Norfolk, but Mora never got the chance.
"I tried to go to the airport and then there was traffic everywhere," Mora said. "I tried to catch the next one, and the next one goes [through] Dallas, and I had to be at the ballpark at 6 o'clock."
Mora then told manager Dave Trembley that his leg was fine and that he had already run on it, so the Orioles placed him in the starting lineup Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
"I don't need a rehab assignment," Mora said. "I'm 100 percent."
To make room for Mora on the roster, Baltimore optioned right-hander Matt Albers to Norfolk. Albers gave up three runs in less than an inning against Texas on Monday night and was 0-1 with a 7.78 ERA in eight relief appearances.
"I'm excited, especially when you see those guys at the top of the lineup get on base a lot," he said.
While Mora is happy to be back in the lineup, utility player Ryan Freel is hoping to get out of Baltimore less than one month into his first season with the team.
"I'm not very happy," Freel said. "I don't think I fit here."
After batting .216 in spring training, Freel was used infrequently during the first two weeks of the season. Then he got hit in the head with an errant pickoff throw on April 20 in Boston and immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list with head trauma.
He was batting .133 (2-for-15) with one RBI.
Freel was supposed to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Delmarva on Monday night, but after taking batting practice was given what he called an "impact test."
He did not fare well. Freel said the test was administered in a crowded office, with people walking in and out during the session.
"I wasn't very happy about it, not at all, and there's a lot more stuff going on here," said Freel, who drove back to Baltimore. He is scheduled to play for Double-A Bowie on Friday.
"The decision was made to hold him back until Friday because of the head injury and to take a conservative approach," Trembley said.
Freel spoke with club president Andy MacPhail about the situation.
"I think change is good for people," Freel said. "I can't control whatever they do at this point. I know it's really putting a damper on my career, really hurting my career as far as getting a job next year. I'm pretty much just rolling with the punches."
MacPhail said, "I can understand why he feels the way he does. We got Pie and Wigginton after acquiring Freel, and they've taken a lot of at-bats earmarked for him. I know he's disappointed; I can understand his frustration."
MacPhail still hopes Freel can contribute this season, but will listen to trade offers for the 33-year-old.
"He has my sympathy," MacPhail said. "We'll see how things shake out."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press