After Thursday rainout, Palmer to face batters today Oriole notes

March 02, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jim Palmer is scheduled to face live hitting for the first time today and is expected to make his first competitive appearance of the spring in an intrasquad game Wednesday.

"It's still too early to judge him," pitching coach Al Jackson said, "but it'll be interesting to see how he feels after he pitches a couple of innings. I'm thinking in terms of the next day, since he'll be doing something he hasn't done in seven years. But I think he's been around long enough not to go all-out and try to impress everybody."

Palmer was scheduled to pitch batting practice Thursday, but that part of his workout was rained out. If all goes well, he'll throw 10 minutes off the practice mound today and 15 minutes against live hitting.

The Palmer comeback will be put to the test during the next couple of weeks. He is scheduled to pitch two innings in the intrasquad game and figures to make his Grapefruit League debut March 11.

Veteran left-hander Mike Flanagan will not appear in either of the intrasquad games. He'll throw on the side instead and make his competitive debut in exhibition play.

* Reliever Gregg Olson continues to pace himself as part of the decelerated training program that was designed for him by the coaching staff.

"Right now, I'm not physically capable of stepping up," Olson said. "I'm behind everybody right now. I didn't push it in the off-season. I'm a little behind, but I'll be ready when the season starts."

Olson said he has not experienced any pain or stiffness, but concurs with the club's decision to preserve his valuable right arm. He is not scheduled to pitch in any of the club's first four exhibition games and probably will see only limited Grapefruit League duty.

* Right-hander David Martinez, who was acquired in the deal that sent outfielder Dave Gallagher to the California Angels, said he couldn't be happier about joining the Orioles organization.

"I'm 27, and last year they [the Angels] started me in A-ball," Martinez said. "It's good to get a new start somewhere else."

Martinez was a top prospect in the Angels organization until a shoulder injury took 10 mph off his fastball and forced him onto an operating table. He was just starting to get that velocity back when the club gave up on him.

"It really started to come around at the end of last year," he said. "I was at [Class AA] Midland, and they had me at 93 mph on the radar gun. I said, 'You're kidding me.' I was down around 82-86 after the surgery."

* Pitching prospect Arthur Rhodes was hit in the head with a line drive while running in the outfield yesterday, but he was not hurt.

* The outfield experiment is coming along well, according to coach Curt Motton, who is working with first basemen Randy Milligan and David Segui.

"The real test will be in game situations," Motton said, "but I'm happy with the way Randy and David are doing. I want them in a position where if they get into an exhibition game early on, they'll feel comfortable and confident out there.

"I sense each day that Randy is gaining confidence. I've got to think that David is a little more confident right now because he has played the outfield within the past couple of years."

* Club president Larry Lucchino, stadium architect Janet Marie Smith, general manager Roland Hemond and assistant GM Doug Melvin spent the day in Naples, Fla., touring possible spring training sites.

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