SARASOTA, Fla. -- Dwight Evans was absent from yesterday's workout -- but not completely forgotten by the Orioles.
The veteran outfielder missed the early monsoon season here because of the flu. In recognition of the "event," several players inscribed No. 24, Evans' number, on strips of adhesive tape and wore them on their uniform sleeves.
"Just a joke," said shortstop Cal Ripken.
"I miss him," said catcher Bob Melvin.
Nobody admitted whose idea it was to wear the bands, but it was probably inspired by Roger Clemens. The Boston righthander is wearing No. 24 this spring in honor of longtime teammate Evans. A year ago Clemens wore No. 14 during the spring in honor of Jim Rice.
Evans was not feeling well when he left the park Saturday and manager Frank Robinson was uncertain if he would rejoin workouts today. Other than developing fluid on his right knee because of excessive work while in the camp early, Evans has not been bothered by any physical problems and had an impressive stint in the batting cage during Saturday's workout.
* WEATHER OR NOT: For the second time in five days, the Orioles lost some time on the field because of the weather yesterday, but nevertheless got in a full workday. Winds and rain produced near hurricane conditions during the morning, but afternoon sunshine allowed the pitchers to get their work finished.
"We had to have these guys throw," said pitching coach Al Jackson. "Otherwise it would have fouled up our schedule."
One of those who threw yesterday was reliever Gregg Olson, who is purposely being held back during the early days of camp. "He's about three or four days behind the others," said Jackson, "and that's right where we want him.
"He threw for 15 minutes, and for the last 10 he was letting it out. He's fine."
Of the other pitchers, Dave Johnson made the biggest impressions. First he was trapped under a tarpaulin that blew over his head and covered the Orioles' film crew at the same time.
Then, after his escape, Johnson finished an impressive workout. "He's on a mission," said Jackson. "He threw the ball as good as I've ever seen him throw it."
Johnson shrugged off the evaluation. "I did throw good," he said, "but I've seen some Cy Young performances on the sidelines."
* ROTATIONS, ANYONE? Robinson revealed his pitching rotation for two intra-squad games and the first six exhibition games (including a B game) yesterday.
Jeff Robinson, Anthony Telford, Arthur Rhodes, Todd Frohwirth, Mike Mussina, Chris Myers, Dave Martinez and Mike Linskey will pitch the first squad game tomorrow. Jim Palmer, Jose Bautista, Daniel Boone, John Mitchell, Paul Kilgus, Roy Smith and Francisco de la Rosa will work on Wednesday -- with everyone scheduled to work two innings.
Ben McDonald, Jose Mesa, Dave Johnson and Kevin Hickey will pitch the first exhibition against the White Sox Thursday. Bob Milacki, Jeff Ballard, Bautista, Martinez, Kilgus and Smith are scheduled Friday against the Rangers.
In two weekend games against the Yankees, the Orioles will use Robinson, Telford, Mitchell, Boone and de la Rosa on Saturday and Mussina, Mike Flanagan, Rhodes, Linskey and Mark Williamson on Sunday.
Palmer makes his debut a week from today against the Red Sox and will be followed by McDonald, Martinez and Boone. In a B game that day against Texas, Mesa, Johnson, Kilgus and Smith will pitch for the Orioles.