MILWAUKEE -- Baltimore Orioles right-hander Ben McDonald pitched without pain in a five-inning appearance against rookie-league competition yesterday in Sarasota, Fla., but manager Frank Robinson is not yet ready to put him back in the starting rotation.
There has been speculation that McDonald will start Monday's game at the new Comiskey Park, but he might start his 1991 season with an appearance out of the bullpen.
"He's coming back," Robinson said, "but I don't know if he'll pitch up here on Monday. It might be better to start him in the bullpen, but that's something [pitching coach] Al [Jackson] and I will talk about.
McDonald, forced out of action March 28 with elbow soreness, will return to Baltimore today and throw on the side Friday. The club probably will make a decision regarding his status on Saturday.
There is an opening in the rotation on Sunday or Monday, depending on when Dave Johnson is slated to pitch next. If he comes back on three days' rest Sunday, McDonald would seem like a convenient choice for the series opener against the White Sox. If Johnson stays on his five-day schedule, the club would have to scramble for a starter on Sunday.
Right-hander Bob Milacki, who pitched well for the Class AA Hagerstown Suns on Tuesday night, is a possibility, but the club is leaning toward pitching him against Class AAA competition before bringing him back to the big leagues.
Bosio responds to Davis
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Chris Bosio was less than apologetic about hitting Orioles first baseman Glenn Davis in the back with a fastball in Monday's opener at Milwaukee County Stadium.
Davis complained about being the target of Bosio's frustration after Cal Ripken hit a home run in the fourth inning of Baltimore's 7-2 victory, and warned Bosio and other American League pitchers not to try and intimidate him.
Davis said Tuesday that Bosio would not have gotten away with it if he was pitching in the National League, since NL pitchers are subject to retaliation when they go to the bat.
Bosio responded with a sarcastic apology, though he denies hitting Davis on purpose.
"It's true," Bosio said. "This is the American League and I don't have to hit, but there was no purpose or intent in that pitch. The frustration was there. That was obvious. But I apologize to Mr. Davis if he is hurt in any way."
Melvin sidelined with flu
Catcher Bob Melvin has not been in the starting lineup since Opening Day, but it isn't because Chris Hoiles has won an everyday job.
Melvin has had the flu, but probably will return to action today.
"He's just about over it," Robinson said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow."
Outfielder Brady Anderson also has been suffering from the flu.