Rafael Palmeiro has been back from his well-chronicled 10-day suspension for steroids since Thursday. He just hasn’t played yet.
That is expected to change in the finale of a three-game series with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays as Palmeiro will likely be the Orioles’ designated hitter, seeing his first action since July 31.
This season has played out like an emotional rollercoaster for Palmeiro, who became just the fourth player in major league history with 3,000 hits and 500 homers on July 15. Just over two weeks later, the 40-year-old first baseman received a 10-day ban for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
New Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo didn’t rush Palmeiro back into the lineup upon his return Thursday, instead waiting for the potential Hall of Famer to ask his way in.
Apparently, Palmeiro is finally ready to step into the batter’s box.
“I am not sure nervous is the word,” Palmeiro said. “Maybe anxious. I am anxious to get back out there. I want to get back to being normal again, getting back to the normal of coming to the ballpark and being in the lineup and playing every day.”
Though he’s not sure what type of reception he’ll receive from fans at Camden Yards, Palmeiro will be a welcome addition to a Baltimore lineup that has managed just one run in the first two games of this series.
After a 12-0 loss in Friday’s series opener, the Orioles got five innings of two-hit ball from John Maine and four scoreless innings from their bullpen in Saturday’s 1-0 victory, ending Toronto’s four-game winning streak.
The Orioles won for the fourth time in five games and improved to 6-3 since Perlozzo replaced fired manager Lee Mazzilli.
The Blue Jays wasted a strong complete-game effort by David Bush, falling to 1-1 on their season-high 13-game road trip.