The Baltimore Orioles have not contacted first baseman Rafael Palmeiro regarding his return from a 10-day suspension for a positive steroid test, according to a baseball source.
Palmeiro is eligible to play beginning Thursday against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Baltimore, and agent Arn Tellem said Sunday that his client intends to return. But it's becoming increasingly clear that some in the organization would rather he not.
The Orioles are 11 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East and appear out of the playoff chase.
"I don't see how he can be that dumb to return," one source close to the Orioles said. "I will guess that he's going to get resounding boos, and that's in Baltimore, a city you could call civil. I don't think he'll get a good reception at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park. I don't see how he's going to play at Yankee Stadium."
Owner Peter Angelos and Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Flanagan did not return calls seeking comment on Palmeiro.
"We're not going to comment at all," Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jim Beattie said.
Because Palmeiro — hitting .280 with 18 home runs — almost certainly won't be brought back next season, the Orioles could choose to call up first baseman Walter Young, hitting .289 with 12 home runs at Class AAA Ottawa.
However, if B.J. Surhoff goes on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained left groin, the Orioles may have to stick with Palmeiro for a while. Beattie said the club had not made a determination about Surhoff.
Tellem did not respond to an e-mail Monday seeking comment on Palmeiro's plans. Palmeiro is still scheduled to address the media either Wednesday or Thursday for the first time since giving a statement on Aug. 1 after his positive drug test was announced.
Palmeiro's suspension was followed on Aug. 4 by the firing of Manager Lee Mazzilli. The Orioles are 2-2 under his replacement, former bench coach Sam Perlozzo. Perlozzo may get an opportunity to succeed Mazzilli permanently, but the front office also is noncommittal on his status.
"We're going to give him an opportunity," Beattie said. "He certainly has earned it. But we're not ready to even address that."
Meantime, the Orioles are hoping to pull out of a second-half slump that has dropped them to fourth place after leading the division 62 consecutive days.
"We've had a lot of distractions, but we need to go out there and win some baseball games," Beattie said.