Rafael Palmeiro says he won’t play until he’s ready.
Having sat out his first two games since returning from a 10-game suspension for using steroids, the 40-year-old slugger still isn’t sure if he’ll be in the lineup when the Baltimore Orioles continue a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“Baseball is different from every other sport, especially hitting,” Palmeiro said Friday afternoon. “You have to have your timing. Even if you’re out two or three days, it takes time to get back into it.”
Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said Thursday night that he would have considered playing Palmeiro Friday if the first baseman “were to run in here and knock my door down.”
Palmeiro has no intention of being that aggressive.
“I know that I want to get back out there, I’m just not sure that I’m there yet,” he said. “Maybe after batting practice I’ll go knock his door down. But as for right now, let’s just go slow.”
Perlozzo said Palmeiro would likely sit out Monday’s game against Oakland left-hander Barry Zito, so he’d like to get him in a game over the weekend.
“I’d like to see him get in at least one game at some point this weekend to do something. I think that will be good for him,” Perlozzo said.
Palmiero watched from the dugout Friday as the Orioles had their three-game winning streak snapped in a 12-0 loss to the Blue Jays.
Corey Koskie, Alex Rios and Shea Hillenbrand also homered for the Blue Jays, who batted around during a four-run first inning and did it again in a six-run sixth. Toronto has won four straight, tying a season high, and is 16-10 since the All-Star break.
Both benches emptied in the top of the first when Daniel Cabrera hit Eric Hinske with a pitch. Hinske moved toward the mound and shouted at Cabrera before Baltimore catcher Sal Fasano restrained Hinske. Order was restored before any punches were thrown.
The Blue Jays’ anger had not subsided long after the game ended.
“I thought it was gutless. You throw that hard and you can kill somebody,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said.
Hinske was convinced that the pitch was intentionally thrown at him, likely out of frustration.
“It definitely seemed like he tried to do it on purpose, which is why I was so upset. We exchanged some words,” he said.