BALTIMORE (AP) -Miguel Tejada was activated from the disabled list Friday by the Baltimore Orioles, who welcomed back their starting shortstop far sooner than anticipated.
Tejada played in 1,152 consecutive games before being placed on the DL on June 22 with a broken bone near his left wrist. The injury occurred June 20, when he was hit by a pitch from San Diego's Doug Brocail.
Tejada originally was expected to be sidelined well into August, but the 2002 AL MVP worked hard to cut short his unaccustomed stretch of inactivity.
``I don't care if it was the first day of the season or Sept. 30, the guy loves to play baseball. That's probably the biggest attribute about Miggy,'' interim manager Dave Trembley said. ``He couldn't wait to get back out there.''
Tejada's rehabilitative assignment consisted of two minor league games. He hit a home run for Class A Frederick on Thursday, and on Friday declared himself ready to return.
``I've only played two games. It's like spring training. You have to take your time,'' Tejada said. ``(But) my mind is to play every day. If the manager decides I can take a day off, I'll take it.''
It all depends on how he plays.
``We kept talking about, let's make sure when you get back out there, you're the real Miguel Tejada. And, I think physically, he is,'' Trembley said. ``We can't expect miracles to happen because he's missed so much time. With the bat, I think it will take him a while to catch up. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if he just steps right in there. He's pretty special.''
Tejada is batting .306 with seven homers and 41 RBIs in 72 games. The Orioles went 16-12 in his absence.
He was placed fifth in the batting order for Friday night's game against the New York Yankees, the first time he's batted that low in the lineup. Trembley wouldn't give a specific reason for the shift, but indicated that he didn't want to break up the effective 3-4 combination of Nick Markakis and Kevin Millar.
``I'm going to put (Tejada) in the lineup where I think is best for the team. I'm not going to write my lineup out for any one guy,'' Trembley said.
To make room for Tejada on the 25-man roster, the Orioles sent right-handed hitting outfielder Jon Knott to Triple-A Norfolk. That left the team with three utility infielders: Chris Gomez, Brandon Fahey and rookie Luis Hernandez. Another backup, Freddie Bynum (hamstring) is on the disabled list, as is starting third baseman Melvin Mora (foot sprain).
``Right now we're going with pitching and defense. In another few days, if we need a right-handed hitter, we'll go back down and bring somebody up,'' Trembley said.
Fahey got three hits in a win over Tampa Bay on Thursday. Hernandez, recalled on July 7 after Bynum went on the DL, was batting .321 in 11 games before Friday.
``To be honest with you, and I don't say this very often, I think Hernandez earned the opportunity to be here,'' Trembley said. ``He needs to play, either a couple times a week here or in Triple-A, because I still think there's room for development. I don't think it would be in his best interest not to play.''

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