PUR@DOM: Strop ends rally in seventh, strikes out two

ST. PETERSBURG -- As expected, the Orioles activated right-handed reliever Pedro Strop from the disabled list prior to Saturday's game. The club optioned lefty Mike Belfiore following Friday's 2-1 loss to create a roster spot.

"He's physically ready to go," manager Buck Showalter said of Strop, who threw a simulated inning Thursday at the team's spring facility. "We'll let the game dictate [how he's used] and the needs of our bullpen physically. But I'm hoping there was a byproduct of him having the injury in that it gave him a fresh start, something he didn't get with the WBC."

Strop was placed on the DL on May 25, retroactive to May 24, with a lower back strain and has spent most of that time working with pitching coach Rick Adair to get back to form. He is 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA in 22 appearances for the Orioles, allowing 12 earned runs over 17 2/3 innings pitched.

Worth noting

• It looks like the plan will be for second baseman Brian Roberts to travel back to Baltimore with the team Sunday and continue his rehab there.

• Wei-Yin Chen threw from 120 feet on Saturday at Tropicana Field with Adair, who said later he thought the lefty threw the ball "really well." It was the fourth time Chen had thrown since sustaining a left oblique strain. There remains no timetable for his return.

• Wilson Betemit (right knee injury) was also here from Sarasota -- where the team's spring facility is -- and said he was hoping to return not long after the All-Star break. Betemit has been running and will progress to field work next week. He acknowledged it had been a little frustrating to go through such a long, tedious rehab process and that while he was initially afraid how his knee would hold up when hitting, he was later pleasantly surprised.

"I want to play, but they want me to move slowly because it's better for me to get better and better," Betemit said. "The first month it was really sore. When I started stretching my leg, it was really hard. But I feel much better right now the last couple of months."

• Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland on Saturday celebrated his 24th birthday.