BALTIMORE (AP) – Rafael Palmeiro is expected to rejoin the Baltimore Orioles for their final homestand, although he will see limited action after being sidelined at home in Texas with knee and ankle injuries.

Palmeiro’s season unraveled after he received a 10-day suspension on Aug. 1, for testing positive for steroids. He went 2-for-26 with one RBI after his return, and the Orioles sent him home on Sept. 5 to rehab his right knee and left ankle.

Palmeiro has not played since Aug. 30, in Toronto.

“I’m under the impression that he would like to be here at least for the last homestand,” interim manager Sam Perlozzo said Friday. “He’s getting better, mentally and physically.” Perlozzo, who spoke to Palmeiro while the Orioles were in Texas this week, said, “He wants to be here with the team. He wants to finish. Unless he changes his mind in the next week, I would expect him to be here.”

The Orioles close out their home schedule with a pair of three-game series, against Boston and New York, Sept. 23-29.

When Palmeiro returned from his suspension, Perlozzo gave the slugger three days off before putting him in the lineup. He intends to use Palmeiro sparingly upon his return, in part to shelter him from the fans that jeered the first baseman following his suspension.

“He knows he’s not going to be in every day,” Perlozzo said. “I’m sure he’s OK with that. He just doesn’t want to quit.”

Perlozzo believes Palmeiro can help the team in other ways than with his bat and glove.

“Raffy’s a good man. In the dugout he’s great. He roots for his teammates, he helps some of the young guys,” Perlozzo said. “He has something to offer.”

After Palmeiro wore ear plugs in Toronto, Perlozzo figured it was best that the slugger work out at home.

“I called him in the next day,” Perlozzo said. “I told him, This is really difficult. Let’s think about what we’re doing, let’s get healthy and go from there.”‘

AP-ES-09-16-05 2050EDT


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