The Baltimore Orioles are expected to make some course corrections this winter, and the direction the club takes will depend in part on what transpires during the annual organizational summit that begins today.
Front-office officials, coaches, instructors and scouts from throughout the Orioles system will converge on a downtown hotel for a full schedule of briefings and information sessions. The intent is to compile information that will better prepare the club for its off-season talent search.
"It's a chance to get a feel for our strengths and weaknesses," general manager Roland Hemond said. "You evaluate and re-evaluate. You want to make sure you're on the right track."
Most of the meetings will take place today, but there will be sessions tomorrow morning, before many of the participants head for Frederick to see the new instructional league facility there. Orioles management views this meeting as a critical part of the team's off-season restructuring.
"We're accumulating information about our own organization," Hemond said. "We're also looking at other organizations to prepare ourselves. You look at the strengths and weaknesses of the other clubs so you can prioritize them as far as who you want to talk to at the World Series or the general managers' meetings or the winter meetings."
The Orioles are expected to investigate possible free-agent acquisitions over the next several weeks, but the club's disappointing finish has been offset to some extent by the promise of several young players. Hemond is excited about the speedy arrival of pitcher Ben McDonald and the impressive comeback of Jose Mesa. There has been recent speculation that the team will pursue a top-name starter to anchor the rotation, but no one is saying whether owner Eli Jacobs will approve such an expenditure.
The meetings are more likely to provide a reaffirmation of the direction the club has already taken. The emphasis on youth doesn't figure to diminish, though it has become apparent that the club needs immediate offensive help to compete in 1991.
* Pitcher Brian DuBois underwent surgery yesterday to reconstruct the ligament in his left elbow. Dr. Hugh Baugher, assisted by Orioles orthopedist, Dr. Charles Silberstein, performed a a tendon transplant, which involved removal of the tendon from his right foot and using it to repair the damaged elbow ligament.
Baugher also was the lead surgeon on the operation that saved Mesa's career. The Sun reported in yesterday's editions that the surgery was performed by Silberstein, but Silberstein assisted on both operation.
* Boston Red Sox catcher Tony Pena exploded in the clubhouse after Tuesday night's loss, blasting the team for quitting after the Orioles rallied to score a 4-1 victory.
"We're a bunch of [-------] quitters, this [-------] ballclub," he said as he threw several chairs across the clubhouse. "Why do we play the game like this?"
Pena explained later that he was referring to the Red Sox play in selected games this season and not to the club in general, but teammate Mike Greenwell told reporters yesterday that Pena owed the club an apology.
* Shortstop Cal Ripken singled in the first inning off Greg Harris to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. That represents the longest hitting streak by an Orioles player this year.
* The Orioles apparently overlooked pitcher Bobby Shantz when the club did a study of the lightest pitchers in baseball history. The public relations department reported that 142-pound left-hander Dan Boone was the lightest pitcher in 70 years. Shantz weighed in at 139 pounds, but the PR staff was sort of taken off the hook when Boone weighed in yesterday at 139. The last pitcher to weigh less than Boone or Shantz was 126-pound Nick Carter, who pitched in 14 games for the 1908 Philadelphia Athletics. There is no truth to the rumor that the club plans to sweat Boone down to 125 as a public relations stunt.