At least seven Orioles apparently were hit by food poisoning after Saturday's exhibition game in Washington, but everyone is expected to be OK for today's season opener.
One of those affected was Opening Day starter Rick Sutcliffe, and Rick Dempsey, since cut from the roster, was hospitalized for five hours early yesterday morning. Both made it to yesterday's workout.
"We think it was the sandwiches we ate before the game in D.C.," said manager John Oates. "Three coaches [Cal Ripken Sr., Dick Bosman and Greg Biagini] also got it. The last count was about seven."
But Oates avoided the nausea and related symptoms by bringing his sandwich back to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and putting it in the refrigerator. It was cleaned out before he ate it.
"We'll be all right tomorrow," said Sutcliffe. "It won't be a problem. There were some stomach cramps. I couldn't tell it until I went out to eat [Saturday night] and came home. Then I started feeling it.
"I think we need to find that guy who had those sandwiches."
General manager Roland Hemond said, jokingly: "I hope that stuff wasn't from Cleveland. We might have to investigate that."
The Boston Red Sox, who beat the Orioles, 4-3, at RFK Saturday, reported no problems with their food.
Orioles center fielder Mike Devereaux said the team has a little more to take in with its new stadium than did the Chicago White Sox, who began play last year in new Comiskey Park.
"It's easier where the park is symmetrical," said Devereaux. "Here, there are more angles and a rubber [warning] track. And you have to learn how hard the wall is, how much room you have, all kinds of things."
The grounds crew cut the infield and outfield grass yesterday, which means bunt hits won't be as easy to come by as they were in Friday's exhibition game against the New York Mets.
"We've played a game and practiced here, but it takes a while to get used to everything," Devereaux said. "It's kind of tough for me at the plate, knowing exactly how hard I've hit a ball."
He said he doesn't get the feeling that the park is unusually large or small. "It just looks different in different places because it's lower than street level," Devereaux said.
Sutcliffe's temporary home
Sutcliffe is staying in Crownsville at the home of former Chicago Cubs teammate Mike Bielecki, who is now with Atlanta. Another ex-teammate, Ryne Sandberg, managed to find find Sutcliffe. Sandberg is getting ready for his team's opener tomorrow in Philadelphia.
"He called me and we talked for a while," said Sutcliffe. If Sandberg wanted tickets for the Orioles opener, he can join the crowd. Sutcliffe himself is having trouble obtaining tickets for today's game.
"You can tell it's a big event by how hard it is," he said. "If I'd have known it would be this hard, I'd have negotiated that into my contract."
Poole won't hit road
Pitcher Jim Poole will not make the first road trip to Toronto and Boston. On the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, Poole said he believes he will start throwing "when the team gets back."
Chris Hoiles didn't participate in yesterday's workout because of soreness in his back, but said he'll be in the lineup today and "for many days after."
Orioles exhibition leaders: batting average -- Jeff Tackett, .438; home runs -- Hoiles, 4; RBI -- Cal Ripken, 17; runs -- Brady Anderson, 13; hits -- Ripken and Devereaux, 26; wins -- Bob Milacki, 3; ERA -- Gregg Olson and Storm Davis, 1.04; saves -- Todd Frohwirth and Jim Lewis, 3; innings -- Milacki, 33; strikeouts -- Mike Mussina, 22. . . . The opening ceremony will begin at 1, when Maryland, Baltimore and U.S. flags will be transported to the Pride of Baltimore II from Fort McHenry, then to the Inner Harbor, where three youngsters from the city's Choice Program will pick them up and run them to the park. . . . The Orioles are 4-2 with President Bush on hand (3-2 in Baltimore). The president is expected to join Chuck Thompson and Joe Angel in the WBAL radio booth and Brooks Robinson, Jon Miller and Scott Garceau in the WMAR-TV booth for some commentary. . . . Approximately 37,000 tickets were sold for the workout, but fewer than half that number attended. . . . The last time the Orioles played host to a major-league game not at Memorial Stadium was Sept. 19, 1902. The Orioles (later to become the New York Yankees) lost to the Red Sox, 9-5, at American League Park (York Road and 10th Street). . . . The last four teams to open a new stadium lost: the White Sox, Blue Jays, Twins and Expos.