Jay Payton is holding onto a thread of hope that he will not start the season on the disabled list. Due to a strained left hamstring, however, that's almost certainly what will happen.
The Baltimore Orioles center fielder suffered a grade-one strain of his lower hamstring while running from second to third Monday in an exhibition game against the Minnesota Twins.
Payton signed as a free agent with the Orioles during the offseason after hitting .296 with the Oakland Athletics last year. The last time he sat on the DL was in 2001, when he missed two months as a New York Met with a strained right hammy. He also missed seven weeks with the same injury as a minor leaguer in 1998.
I sense a pattern.
If Payton can't run, jump and slide by Monday, Corey Patterson will take his place in center for the season opener against the Twins.
Update: I found this picture with the help of Anthony from the Oriole Post, who pointed me in the direction of the Baltimore Sun... where I wasn't smart enough to look myself, apparently. So. No thanks to you, commenter Bassmaster! I kid, I kid. Many thanks to you, as well.