If arrangements can be made early enough, B.J. Surhoff may play one more season. (Elise Amendola/AP)
BALTIMORE -- B.J. Surhoff has played well enough for sustained stretches this year that he's convinced he can return next year at age 40 for his 18th Major League season.
Surhoff said he is not 100 percent sure he will play in 2005, but is almost certain he will come to that decision. And he would consider playing for another team.
"I will take a little while and see how I feel," he said Saturday before the Orioles' doubleheader with Boston. "I still want to play. But playing 150 or 160 [games] most likely is not going to happen. I feel like I can still play and contribute. But it will depends where [the Orioles] are going and what they are trying to do."
In 98 games, Surhoff is hitting a solid .307 with seven homers and 48 RBIs and a .364 on-base percentage. He has proved valuable as a spot starter in the outfield.
B.J. Surhoff / LF
Weight: 215 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R
"He has been a savior for me," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He can still play. He still can contribute a lot to a team, and I think he sets an example for the guys in how he works and takes care of himself."
Surhoff said he is not going to return to the Orioles, or any Major League team, on the same conditions as he did last year.
Surhoff was not offered arbitration by the Orioles and waited until Jan. 8, the deadline for non-tendered players to re-sign with their current teams, to agree to a deal. Surhoff wants more security this time.
"If I decide to play, I don't want people to think I'd only play here," he said. "I have to talk to them after the season and see what they want to do."
Because the Orioles have had issues with trying to fit players on the 40-man roster, Surhoff has signed a minor league deal the past two seasons with an invitation to Spring Training. Surhoff said he is not against signing another minor-league deal, but he doesn't want to have to compete for a roster spot in the spring.
"That [contract] stuff works itself out, but I have no intention of going to Spring Training trying to make the team," he said. "Spring Training, for me, is to get ready for the season. I think more emphasis should be put on track record rather than winning a Spring Training batting title.
"Whether I play or not will be up to me. I definitely want to have something done before January. I don't want to wait until the last minute to get something done. Hopefully, I have resolved the question of whether I can still play in this league."
Rick Bauer / P
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Bauer to start: Mazzilli announced Saturday that right-hander Rick Bauer will start the season finale against the Red Sox. Bauer pitched six scoreless innings Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, throwing 91 pitches. The club expressed enough confidence in Bauer to use him on three days' rest.
"I am just happy to be out there pitching and get another start," he said. "I feel pretty good. The arm is fine, and I will go as long as they want me to go."
Bauer likely will be on an innings or pitch limit. Mazzilli likely will use a series of pitchers to finish the game.
"I am just hoping this gives them some confidence in me for next year," he said. "I have a new attitude about things. I just hope I am in this team's plans."
Bauer was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa three times this season and complained to the media after being sent down the third time in July. He criticized management and said he was told he was no longer in the organization's plans. He repented that statement and reported to Ottawa, flourishing in the starting rotation for the Lynx.
"I went down there and got my mechanics straightened out," he said. "I just gained confidence and got some arm strength. It was a necessary experience."
Milestones: Rafael Palmeiro's single in the seventh inning of the first game gave him 5,222 career total bases. He moved ahead of Dave Winfield for 11th on the all-time list.
Miguel Tejada's home run in the eighth inning tied him with Cal Ripken for most home runs in a season by an Orioles shortstop. Ripken hit 34 home runs in his MVP season of 1991.
Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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