Tim Wittman is not on the Baltimore Blast roster and said yesterday that he will not be paid by the Major Soccer League team until his degenerative disk allows him to pass the team physical and play again.
Wittman met yesterday for 15 minutes with Blast owner Ed Hale and said afterward: "At least I know where I'm going. I heard it from the horse's mouth. We have an agreement that serves to work out the problem. I have nothing to complain about. My contract will start as soon as I pass the physical."
Hale and coach Kenny Cooper both said yesterday that a spot was being saved on the 18-man squad for Wittman.
The Blast roster was reduced to the limit of 18 yesterday when third-year defender Glenn Carbonara asked for his release after being told by Cooper that he would see limited playing time this season.
Cooper said: "Glenn came in this morning [yesterday] and told me he wanted to play for the Hershey Impact [National Professional Soccer League that formerly was known as the American Indoor Soccer Association]. I had met with him over the weekend and told him he wasn't going to play a lot."
In regard to Wittman, Hale said: "I can't envision a time when Timmy's not on the team. I hope he's going to pass the physical. I've told him as soon as he feels like he can pass, go over and take the physical. He can do it tomorrow morning if he wants to."
Asked if Wittman was being paid, Hale said: "Part of a contract to play on the team is passing the physical. We've worked out something to accommodate him."
Wittman said those accommodations were "paying for my rehabilitation so I can pass the physical."
Wittman, the team's second-leading all-time scorer and a nine-year veteran, said he hopes to be ready to pass the physical in a week.
"I'll be going for therapy every day for two weeks, but I hope to be ready to take the physical in a week," said Wittman. "It's a setback for me, but I've had others and dealt with them. I know the roster has to be filled out by Wednesday [tomorrow] and I'm not on it. I can't be on the roster until I pass the physical."
Wittman said he "hates" sitting and watching his teammates practice day after day.
"I love the game. I want to play," he said. "There's no way I would be sitting here if I could go out there and practice. The doctors tell me I should have five more years to play with this back problem. It's only a minor thing. I believe 25 percent of the people have the same problem."
Cooper said Wittman is "an automatic fixture" with the Blast and that is why a place on the roster was being saved for him.
"I don't want to bring in other people to play now," said Cooper. "Timmy will get you points when he plays. You get used to having a player like that on the team."
NOTES: The much-anticipated arrival of striker Dale Mitchell became a reality yesterday at Myers Pavilion. Mitchell, who was acquired Aug. 20 in a trade that sent Carl Valentine to the Kansas City Comets, reported to training camp for the first time and took part in the two-a-day workouts.