BOSTON -- The road trip's over, and Melvin Mora's still on the bench. Baltimore's third baseman, who suffered a left hamstring injury at the beginning of the six-game excursion, said Wednesday that he feels better but isn't much closer to returning. Mora wasn't able to estimate a return date, but he did say that he felt some improvment in the injured muscle.

"It depends on how I feel. It's day-by-day," he said in the hours before Baltimore's series finale against Boston. "Right now, the pain in the top [of the hamstring] and the butt [went] away. Now it's just this one [lower hamstring] that I'm concerned about."

Mora, who was named the American League's Player of the Month for August on Wednesday, said that his hamstring woes have kept him from even trying to run. He also said that he expected to hit off a tee but that there's "no way" he'd be able to play this weekend. For now, he has to watch his team struggle through one of the hardest parts of the season.

"It's hard," he said. "You want to be there, no matter what. Good or bad situation, you want to be there to help."

Mora, who described the ailment as "tightness" in his hamstring, is hardly the only key Oriole dealing with an injury. Baltimore has been waiting for closer George Sherrill to return from inflammation in his left shoulder, and his replacement, rookie reliever Jim Johnson, recently complained of shoulder pain and will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test Friday.

"That won't happen until we go back to Baltimore," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, explaining Johnson's absence from the bullpen. "I think I said that yesterday, that he wasn't going to pitch until he gets the MRI. I really don't know anything more about that, other than he's going to get the MRI when we get back, and then we'll go from there."

As for Sherrill, Trembley said the wait is nearly over. The southpaw threw a side session Wednesday and will throw another one Friday, and Trembley said the Orioles may be nearing a decision on his availability.

"I would think after he throws a sideline, he would at least have to have one day off after that," Trembley said. "I don't know if [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] wants him to throw another one or if he wants him to throw to a couple of hitters. We need to get through the next one first, before we could give you a more definitive answer on that. But I would say he's getting close."