X-rays negative; Raffy expects to play Friday

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rafael Palmeiro was scratched from the Baltimore Orioles' lineup Wednesday because of a sprained right ankle, a day after he had two hits in his second appearance since coming back from a 10-day steroid suspension.

An X-ray was negative and he expects to play Friday at Cleveland.

Palmeiro said he aggravated a previous injury to the ankle on his sixth-inning infield single during Tuesday night's 4-3 win over Oakland. He felt a twinge underneath the bone while pushing off out of the batter's box and running to first. He woke up Wednesday and couldn't put weight on it before trying to run with no success.

"That's what I get for not playing two weeks, I guess," he said. "I was ready to come back out today. I'm anxious to be playing every day, and now this. I don't think it's anything serious."

Palmeiro had been scheduled to play designated hitter in the finale of a three-game series against the Athletics, won 5-3 by Baltimore. Instead, he changed out of his baseball gear and back into his suit and left the stadium to have an X-ray on the ankle. Manager Sam Perlozzo still plans to use Palmeiro at first base Friday at Cleveland.

The Orioles have off days Thursday and Monday, so that should help Palmeiro.

"I don't know even how it happened," Perlozzo said. "Hopefully it's just a day. I was hoping Friday to break him out at first base. I'm still going with that unless we get some bad news. Hopefully that's just from the time off and he may have tweaked something a little bit."

The 40-year-old Palmeiro, suspended Aug. 1 for violating Major League Baseball's new steroids policy, claims he didn't know how the drug got in his body. He has not addressed the topic since being activated Thursday, saying that his attorneys advised him to hold off from commenting until Congress concludes its investigation of his case.

"I just wanted to get going, get back into my rhythm," Palmeiro said.

He faced constant boos Tuesday, his first appearance in a road game after playing Sunday at Camden Yards for the first time since his suspension. Palmeiro also had a double and scored a run Tuesday.

He believes the best way to get through this hard time is to contribute.

"He's determined to play through this thing," Perlozzo said. "He knows it's not going to be easy. We all know that. It's a tough stage in his life."