BALTIMORE (AP) - Jerry Hairston will be lost to the Baltimore Orioles for the rest of the season after breaking his left ankle trying to catch a
home-run ball in center field.
Hairston, a converted second baseman, landed awkwardly Tuesday night after leaping in vain to snare a home run by Oakland's Adam Melhuse in the eighth
inning of the Orioles' 11-0 loss. Hairston arrived at Camden Yards on Wednesday walking on crutches and wearing a look of gloom. It was not an
unfamiliar scenario; Hairston missed half of last season with a broken right foot and started this season on the disabled list with a broken finger.
"It's just another freak injury," he said. "I've had a string of freak things happen the last couple of years. I kind of feel frustrated and angry
because I want to play. I really was starting to have fun."
Hairston played second base for his entire career before being moved to the outfield after losing his job to Brian Roberts, who flourished in place of
the injured Hairston. Hairston initially struggled in center, but made several outstanding catches over the last two weeks while the Orioles won 11 of
13 to take over third place in the AL East.
"I enjoyed running down balls, and we starting winning some games, too," he said. "I was really enjoying myself, and that's what hurts me the most.
Now I have to watch."
He also contributed offensively - he's batting .303, has scored 43 runs and his 13 steals rank second on the team behind Roberts.
"It's a big blow when you lose your starting center fielder. It's not good," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "It just seems as if that has been the
trend this year, our main guys going out for an extended time."
Hairston was in center field because Luis Matos is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his shin. The Orioles have also been without
designated hitter David Segui for most of the season, and have lost third baseman Melvin Mora and outfielders Jay Gibbons and B.J. Surhoff for
extended periods due to injury.
"We don't lose guys for a couple of days, we lose them for months," Orioles executive vice president Beattie said.
The Orioles placed Hairston on the disabled list and recalled outfielder Darnell McDonald to fill his spot on the roster. In an unrelated move, the
Orioles placed outfielder Larry Bigbie on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of outfielder Val Majewski from Double-A Bowie. Beattie
felt bad for Hairston, who has endured more than his share of undue hardship this year.
"It's just really unfortunate for him. End the season on the DL, start the season on the DL," Beattie said.
The injury won't require surgery, but Hairston must stay off the foot for at least four weeks.
"It will heal on its own," Hairston said. "I've got to wait for about a month, and that's really the season. At least it's not a career-threatening