09/20/07 9:36 PM ET
Notes: Payton suspended for two games
Veteran ejected for arguing strikes on Wednesday vs. Yankees
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
Payton was ejected on Monday night for arguing a checked swing on a third strike, and he was thrown out of Wednesday's game for arguing balls and strikes. The veteran reacted to the latter ejection by tossing his helmet and his bat behind him as he walked back into the dugout, and he narrowly missed hitting home-plate umpire Mike Reilly.
The suspension undoubtedly would've been longer if he had hit him -- regardless of intent or lack thereof -- and Payton said that he elected to serve his time without appealing or even talking to anyone from the league office.
"Actually, I didn't really expect to get suspended. I expected to get fined, but I didn't really expect a suspension," he said. "I talked to my agent and I guess he talked to these guys. They said it's kind of standard punishment for what they've been handing out. We're not in a Wild Card chase or anything so I guess I'll just go ahead and serve it."
Payton, who's on track for both the worst on-base percentage (.289) and worst slugging mark (.356) of his career, said the frustration has been mounting for the last two months. He said he's never really had the confluence of events that he's gone through this season, which includes a tough season individually for a team that's not as competitive as he'd hoped.
"I think everybody's had their little episodes at some point in time, and mine kind of took place over the last few days or so," he said of losing his temper. "It's part of the game. It's what you deal with. That's why I said that sometimes it would be better if you almost didn't care, because it wouldn't upset you so much. When you care, sometimes you get out of control."
Baltimore has only logged nine ejections this season, and Payton has three of them. He also had an incident in Toronto where he nearly came to blows with teammate Melvin Mora at the end of a tense game, an argument that started in the dugout in front of television cameras and spilled into the tunnel that led to the visitor's clubhouse.
Despite all the adversity, Payton doesn't want to pull the parachute on his new team. He's determined to serve out the second year of his contract and to be part of the group that breaks Baltimore's 10-year streak of losing records.
"I signed a two-year deal to be here and play here," he said. "You want to turn things around and be a part of getting things turned around. We've got a lot of work to do, but that's up to the guys upstairs to figure out what needs to be done."
Switch 'em up: Baltimore manager Dave Trembley gave a day off to his starting double-play combination Thursday, which allowed him a chance to look at second baseman Brandon Fahey and shortstop Luis Hernandez. Trembley said it was no slight to Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada, just an opportunity to give everyone a chance to play.
Trembley also spotted J.R. House behind the plate in place of regular starter Ramon Hernandez.
"I told Roberts yesterday that he wasn't going to play. That gives me an opportunity to play Luis Hernandez," he said. "I would expect Hernandez would play two out of four here at shortstop and I would expect in all likelihood that Fahey will play two out of four at second base also. It's time to give those guys an opportunity to play.
"It's not that I need to evaluate them. They deserve an opportunity to play. We know what the other guys can do."
Tejada, who has a famous desire to play as often as possible, said he understood Trembley's decision. He also said that everyone's worn down at this time of year -- but more from the losing than from any sense of fatigue.
"I lost almost two months of the season and we lost this year more than the last three years," he said. "It's not that I'm tired, but it's seeing the same thing every day. ...We've got to keep playing because we're professionals."
Tejada, a four-time All-Star and former Most Valuable Player, is asked often about the status of his desire to remain in Baltimore. The shortstop has made trade requests before, but now he seems determined to remain a member of the Orioles as long as he can.
"I hope I'll be here. I've got two more years here and they've got to decide what they're going to do," he said. "I just work here and I'm always going to try to be with the Orioles. If not, there's nothing that I can do. I've just got to play wherever they want to play -- and I'm going to play baseball either way. Next year, I'm going to start over again and hopefully I'm going to play much better."
Injury updates: Garrett Olson became the latest Orioles pitcher to be shut down for the season Thursday, when Trembley announced that his strained left forearm wouldn't allow him to pitch again this year. Olson follows in the footsteps of fellow starters Kris Benson, Erik Bedard, Jaret Wright and Adam Loewen in addition to relief ace Chris Ray.
"Olson is going to stay with the team until we get back to Baltimore and then we're going to send him to Instructional League," Trembley said. "He's going down to Sarasota on Tuesday and he'll start a throwing program down there. Hopefully, at some point in time during the Instructional League, he'll be able to be game-ready. I'd like to see him pitch maybe one inning in a game in the Instructional League before he goes home, just to let everybody know, and himself, know that he's 100 percent."
The news is a little bit better on Jeremy Guthrie, who will throw a bullpen session on Saturday. If everything goes well -- and if he doesn't feel any adverse effects the day after -- Guthrie could get a start in the season's final week.
Quotable: "I'll take my punishment like a big boy and be ready for Saturday." -- Payton on his predicament
Coming up: The Orioles and Rangers will meet again Friday, pitting Victor Santos against Luis Mendoza at 8:05 p.m. ET. Santos will be making just his second start for Baltimore after a waiver claim and subsequent cash transaction with Cincinnati.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.