Michael Jordan returned to the lineup for the Birmingham Barons on Friday night, a week after being sidelined by a shoulder injury.
Jordan started as the designated hitter, batting seventh against Jacksonville. He shagged some balls before the game, but it was uncertain when he would be able to again play the outfield.His recovery, however, came too late for the Barons' game this Sunday night at home against Chattanooga to be shown on ESPN. Because of the major league strike, ESPN televised Birmingham's game last Sunday in Memphis; Jordan was unable to play that night, though, and the network pulled its plans to show this week's game because it appeared Jordan would again be out of action.
Jordan hurt himself last Friday, missing a diving catch in left field at Huntsville, and had not played since then. He underwent an MRI on Monday and Dr. James Andrews, a prominent sports surgeon, said Jordan had a mild strain of the left rotator cuff and a mild sprain of the shoulder capsule.
At the time, Andrews said he would evaluate Jordan on a week-by-week basis. The doctor said whether Jordan could play before the Barons' season ended Sept. 3 depended on how quickly his rehabilitation progressed.
It was Jordan's first injury serious enough to keep him out since his second year in the NBA. The former Chicago Bulls star remained healthy throughout his college career at North Carolina. His only serious injury in nine seasons in the NBA was a broken left foot in 1985, when he missed 63 games.
Jordan is batting .192, lowest among qualifiers for the Southern League batting title. He has 44 RBI in his first season as a professional baseball player.