Advertisement

 BALTIMORE (AP) -Jay Payton is finally ready to make his belated debut with the Baltimore Orioles.
Payton was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday after being sidelined by a strained left hamstring. The injury occurred while he was running from second base to third in an exhibition game against Minnesota on March 26.
Payton signed a two-year contract with the Orioles in December and had an excellent spring training before the mishap. After going 2-for-8 in a two-game rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Norfolk, the outfielder joined the Orioles at Camden Yards for the start of a seven-game homestand.
``It's great. I was feeling good at the end of the spring right before I got hurt so it's just very disappointing not being able to start the season on time,'' he said. ``I'm just happy to be back here now. The guys have been playing pretty good baseball and I'm just hoping I can contribute and help us keep winning.''
Payton was not in the starting lineup for Friday night's game against Toronto.
``We'll work him in, make sure he's OK. But I don't think I'd hesitate if I need to use him today,'' Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. ``We've been waiting for him for a while. It's good to have him back.''
For Payton, it was like the season opener - without all the fanfare.
``It's a little different because it's a new team, a new organization I'm with, so in that respect it might feel a little bit like opening day for me, but it's just baseball,'' he said. ``I've been doing it for a long time now. So, it's just the same thing, different place.''
To make room for Payton, the Orioles optioned outfielder Jon Knott to Norfolk. Knott went 3-for-4 in two games; the outfielder hit his first big league homer as a pinch hitter and had two hits and scored twice as a starter against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
``I really enjoyed starting, getting to contribute the whole game,'' Knott said. ``I had a good time up here. Hopefully I can come back up and contribute. ... I'm just waiting for my chance.''
If nothing else, Knott made an impression on Perlozzo.
``The guy took advantage of an opportunity. He helped us win a game,'' the manager said. ``You look forward to seeing kids come up like that and produce for you.''
Now that they've got Payton back, the Orioles can turn their attention toward the long-awaited return of starting catcher Ramon Hernandez.
Hernandez has been on the disabled list since April 2 because of a strained muscle in his rib cage. He's been taking batting practice with the team, and is almost ready to stoop behind the plate.
``We'll evaluate him after today and decide if he just needs another BP day or needs a rehab assignment,'' Perlozzo said.
Advertisement

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Blue Jays vs. Orioles Predictions Despite losing last night in Baltimore are the Blue Jays a safe money line play tonight when they visit the Orioles at 7:05PM ET?
Thumbnail Cards could deal Brewers seventh straight L St. Louis rookie Luke Weaver earned his first MLB victory over the weekend, limiting Oakland to a run on four hits. In a few hours, he’ll have a chance to exploit...
Thumbnail Diamondbacks vs. Giants Prediction After falling to the Diamondbacks last night, will the Giants rebound with a win today at 3:45PM ET?
Thumbnail Maddon's Cubs covet sweep of Pirates Over the weekend, Jason Hammel had his shortest outing of the season. Yet Cubs manager Joe Maddon is more than ready for the veteran hurler to tackle tonight’s series...
Thumbnail Rays vs. Red Sox Pick Who will grab the rubber match when the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays meet this afternoon at 1:35PM ET?
More inMLB Articles  

MLB Team Pages

Advertisement