Right-hander Jeff Robinson has performed well in his first two appearances for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, leaving room to wonder whether he can pitch his way back into the Baltimore Orioles rotation.
Robinson said when he was optioned to the Red Wings that he did not want to come back. He also had some choice words for the Orioles organization. But general manager Roland Hemond said that if Robinson continues to pitch well, all would be forgiven.
"You recognize that there are strong emotions when you send a player down," Hemond said. "But once reality sets in, it's performance that gets you back to the big leagues.
"I'm tickled that he'd doing well. The name of the game is winning."
Robinson has made two relief appearances for the Red Wings, giving up just an unearned run and three hits over seven innings. Teammate Jeff Ballard has not fared quite so well, however, giving up 10 hits in five innings in his first start.
Bill Ripken still hurting
Second baseman Bill Ripken still is listed as day-to-day as far as his return from the disabled list is concerned, but manager John Oates hinted that the rib-cage injury that has sidelined Ripken for the past three weeks might be more serious than originally thought.
"All I know is that he isn't ready today," Oates said. "He said he felt pretty good on Saturday, but he felt bad on Sunday. He took batting practice yesterday, but he doesn't feel like he can take batting practice today. There might be some possibility of a [cartilage] separation."
Ripken is finding the situation both painful and frustrating.
"I don't know what's going on," he said, "and there are a lot of people with a lot more education than I have who don't know much more than I do."
Further medical tests seem likely, though Ripken said that none is scheduled.
Hickey to join workouts
Left-hander Kevin Hickey, who was released by the club last month, will be back in uniform this week, though only to work out with the team.
The Orioles apparently do not have an interest in re-signing him, but Hemond would not rule out the possibility that Hickey could be invited to spring training next year.
"Who knows?" Hemond said. "He's had about 19 lives. Maybe he'll have a 20th."
Class AA Hagerstown Suns left-hander Arthur Rhodes was named the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for July after a 3-0 performance included 42 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings and a 1.96 ERA.
Rhodes is one of the top prospects in the Orioles organization and probably will be pitching at Memorial Stadium after the rosters expand in September.
"There are a few guys I'd like to see," Oates said. "Rhodes and Luis Mercedes among others, but that doesn't mean they'll all get a chance to play."
Oates also mentioned outfielders Paul Carey and Tyrone Kingwood and pitcher Jeff Williams, but did not say that they all would be called up in September. A firm decision on the makeup of the September roster probably won't be made until the final week of August.
Higuera out for season
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Teddy Higuera will miss the remainder of the season after another examination of his ailing left shoulder revealed a significant tear in the rotator cuff, the club announced.
Higuera, 32, who signed a four-year, $13 million contract with the Brewers in the off-season, began the season on the disabled list when a small tear was discovered in the rotator cuff during spring training.
Higuera, a 20-game winner in 1986, tried to rehabilitate the shoulder. He was activated in May and appeared in seven games with the Brewers, compiling a 3-2 record and a 4.46 ERA, before he began to have problems again. He was put back on the disabled list July 5 with shoulder problems. He'd also been bothered by a stiff neck and had not pitched since June 29.
The Orioles wives will hold their annual "Cruise for Kids" on Sept. 5 to benefit the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
The black-tie-optional dinner and dance cruise is sponsored by the Sports Boosters of Maryland and will include a silent auction and a raffle. Tickets are $100 per person and $800 for a table of eight. Tickets can be reserved by mailing a check to Lori Williamson, Orioles Wives Cruise for Kids, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, Reed Hall 201W, 1620 McElderry St., Baltimore, Md. 21205. Tickets can be charged by calling 955-8767.
The Orioles are 7-22 when Cal Ripken has gone hitless. . . . Orioles catchers have a 108-game errorless streak. . . . Leo Gomez has just 1 error in his past 36 games.