Patterson pulling for Pie
Veteran realizes he won't remain everyday left fielder
BOSTON -- Orioles outfielder Corey Patterson knows the pending return of Felix Pie will likely mean the end of his duties as the everyday left fielder, but he said he's pulling for Pie to come back and help jolt a beleaguered squad.
"I hope Felix comes back and hits. 300," Patterson said. "I'm rooting for him. Just because he does well doesn't mean I can't as well."
Interim manager Juan Samuel said Saturday that Patterson will likely see some time at designated hitter, especially with Luke Scott on the 15-day disabled list. Pie is expected to be activated for Tuesday's game in Detroit, so the O's could frequently use a lineup with both Pie and Patterson.
"We are going to continue to get at-bats for Corey," Samuel said. "He has helped us tremendously. We want to keep him fresh, give him some time, and [he will play the field] if we feel like Felix might need a day off."
The 30-year-old Patterson entered Sunday having hit safely in eight straight games, and is batting .368 with 11 multihit contests in his past 20.
Patterson signed a Minor League deal with the Orioles on April 21 and was thought to be just outfield insurance until struggling Nolan Reimold was sent to Triple-A and Pie hit the disabled list. Baltimore selected his contract on May 12, and Patterson has exceeded offensive expectations in the leadoff spot.
"He was sitting at home without a job [this spring]," Samuel said of Patterson, who was cut by Seattle. "And when we needed some help, he came in and really lifted our offense. And he is getting on base and stealing some bases for us. So I'm very happy for him."
Pie to make return to O's roster Tuesday
BOSTON -- The Orioles won't activate Felix Pie until Tuesday, pushing back the outfielder's return a day because he requested to play one more rehab game Sunday in Double-A Bowie.
Pie is expected to fly to Detroit on Monday, which is when the Orioles will make a corresponding roster move that figures to be either third baseman Josh Bell or reliever Frank Mata.
Bell was in Sunday's starting lineup against the Red Sox -- playing at third base for the second time since Thursday's debut -- and interim manager Juan Samuel wouldn't rule out keeping the rookie switch-hitter when Pie comes back.
"It's been good to see him come up here and hold his own," Samuel said of Bell, who went 2-for-8 in his first two games. "He knows now what to expect up here. [We] got him a little taste of how the big leagues is and I think he responded properly."
If the Orioles do keep Bell, the struggling Mata (0-0, 9.22 ERA) would be the one to go. Mata has allowed nine earned runs in his past two outings, including three earned runs over 1 1/3 innings in Saturday's loss. Samuel acknowledged it has been tough to find spots for Mata given his waning effectiveness.
"We have been using him in situations where we really want to save that back end of the bullpen," Samuel said. "Yes, he hasn't thrown the ball well, his velocity is still there, but he just needs to throw strikes."
When Pie comes back he is expected to assume the bulk of left-field duties, but will be eased into batting leadoff.
"[We will] give him some time hitting lower in the order until he gets his swing, or we see him where we think he needs to be," said Samuel, who plans on playing Pie three or four days in a row. "Keep in mind he had lost a tremendous [amount of] time."
Pie (upper back strain) has been on the 60-day disabled list since April 16 and entered Sunday hitting .317 in 10 games split between the Gulf Coast League, Class A Advanced Frederick and Bowie.
Bell leaves game with leg cramps
BOSTON -- Orioles third baseman Josh Bell left Sunday's 6-1 win over the Red Sox in the top of the eighth inning with right leg cramps.
After a foul tip on a Dustin Richardson pitch, Bell fell to the ground in pain. He was replaced by Jake Fox.
"I'm fine," Bell said after the game. "Just the way I was positioned in the box, I couldn't really turn on it, so as soon as I swung, I fell and it just cramped all the way up."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.