BRADENTON, Fla. -- Centerfielder Mike Devereaux beat out a bunt for a hit in the Orioles' 13-inning, 3-2 exhibition loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday, but it probably wasn't worth his trouble.
Devereaux suffered a slight groin strain sprinting down the line and had to be removed from the game. His status is day-to-day, but it seems likely the club will treat the injury conservatively at this point in the exhibition season.
"It's not too bad," Devereaux said, "but it was just so cold out there. It might be something very minor, but I can still feel it."
If it seems as if an Oriole drops every time the temperature does, it probably is no coincidence. Ben McDonald injured his elbow throwing on a cold, rainy day last spring, and Devereaux said that a couple of his earlier leg injuries occurred under chilly conditions.
"Every time I've been hurt, it has been because of cold weather," Devereaux said. "I pulled a hamstring in '90 in Detroit on a day that was unusually cold, and I had a slight groin pull last year when it was cold. That's why I like to play when it's 110 degrees."
* MISSING BELL: Infielder Juan Bell struggled with a couple of ground balls yesterday, which probably didn't improve his chances of winning one of the two infield utility jobs open this spring.
Bell is in competition with Tim Hulett and Mark McLemore. Manager John Oates has said that only two of the three will make the club.
McLemore could not handle a tough hop on the pivotal play in the 13th inning, but Oates did not seem particularly bothered by it. He did say, however, that Bell should have made the two plays.
* MESA TOUGH: Righthander Jose Mesa pitched three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and making it difficult to overlook him.
Mesa has not been scored upon in five innings. He has given up four hits and one walk.
He is out of minor-league options, so he must make the club or be made available on waivers to the other 25 major-league teams. The club probably will try to trade him if he isn't going to make the Opening Day roster.
* POOLE TO THROW TODAY: Lefthander Jim Poole, who has been suffering from some shoulder tendinitis, will throw batting practice today. If all goes well, he could pitch in Sunday's exhibition game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I'm not worried," Poole said. "I'm just anxious. Two weeks on the shelf stinks."
* GIBSON DEBUTS: Kirk Gibson, who was traded to the Pirates for pitcher Neal Heaton, joined the club yesterday and wasted no time fitting into the lineup.
Gibson started in rightfield and reached base in his first two at-bats. He walked, facing Mike Mussina in the first inning, and lined an opposite-field double off Mesa in the fourth.
* PAINED PIRATES: Pirates leftfielder Barry Bonds did not play against the Orioles yesterday. He's been out five games with a slight hamstring strain. Centerfielder Andy Van Slyke also has been out with a sore lower back. Tests performed Tuesday revealed three degenerative disks.
* TICKETS REMAIN: The Orioles report that about 15,000-20,000 tickets remain for the six home games that follow the club's sold-out season opener at the new Camden Yards ballpark. The club plays just seven home games in April, three against the Cleveland Indians to open the season and four against the Detroit Tigers, April 17-20.
* JUST A TRIM: The Orioles announced their first cuts of spring, and there were no surprises. Three non-roster players -- catcher Mike Lehman, outfielder Mark Smith and pitcher Amalio Carreno -- were sent to Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota for minor-league camp.
* HETZEL'S DOUBLE PLAY: Righthander Eric Hetzel pitched three innings in a "B" game yesterday, just hours after his wife, Katherine, gave birth to twin girls in Crowley, La.
Hetzel could be forgiven if he didn't have his mind entirely on his work, but he still pitched reasonably well in a 5-2 victory over the Cardinals at Al Lang Stadium. He gave up two hits and three walks, but surrendered only one run before giving way to Carreno.