The Orioles' roster of wounded grew to three yesterday when reliever Mark Williamson was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his right elbow.
Williamson was bothered by the problem in spring training, and it flared anew after he faced one Red Sox batter during Wednesday's 6-5 defeat in Boston. He yielded a game-winning, two-run single to Jody Reed.
"I woke up the next day and it was swollen," said Williamson. "So, they said to take it easy for a few days. Right now, the idea is to get the swelling down."
He joins first baseman Glenn Davis (strained rib-cage muscle) and pitcher Jim Poole (shoulder tendinitis) on the disabled list.
To replace Williamson, the Orioles have recalled right-hander Alan Mills from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. Mills is due to report in time for today's nationally televised game against the Detroit Tigers.
"We're fortunate we've got someone who can throw the ball the way Mills did [in spring training] to take Willie's place," said manager John Oates.
"This wasn't something that just popped up. Willie missed some time in the spring. We gave him some time off and he said he was ready. When he pitched in Toronto it had been eight days since he'd pitched because of the elbow."
After a day without action, Williamson faced Reed, then departed from Fenway Park apparently OK.
"There was no problem when he left," said Oates. "But at 2 a.m. the next morning he couldn't straighten his arm."
Williamson spent yesterday having X-rays taken. "That's all I did all day," he said. "Get pictures."
Mills was acquired from the New York Yankees Feb. 29 for two players to be named. One is pitcher Francisco de la Rosa. The other still is unspecified.
Mills had a 2-6 record and 4.19 ERA in parts of two seasons for the Yankees. His problem in the big leagues has been control -- 41 walks in 58 innings.
With the Red Wings, Mills was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a save in three games. He had eight strikeouts and walked two in five innings.
This spring in Florida, he pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Orioles, allowing 11 hits and three earned runs for a 4.05 ERA.
Green green grass of home
The Orioles have settled all ground-rules questions with the American League, but there's still a question of the grass cutout area around the bases.
Oates and the team would like to have the cutouts around each of the bags more rounded with a 13-foot radius, similar to the way they were at Memorial Stadium.
But Oriole Park's drainage system, with its layers of dirt beneath the grass surface, makes it difficult, for now, to have it that way.
"It's more complex than I can understand," said Oates. "I can't grow grass in my own yard. You'll have to talk to [groundskeeper] Paul [Zwaska]."
Where Deer and antelope play
In the fourth inning last night, Detroit's Rob Deer broke a string in which he collected his first hit of the season that wasn't a home run.
Before his single, Deer had had five hits on the season -- all home runs.
First baseman Cecil Fielder might have preferred another home run. Fielder was on first with a single when Deer came up.
Deer fouled off five straight pitches on a 3-2 count before he got the hit, and Fielder, whose speed is closer to, say, George Foreman's than Rickey Henderson's, was sent running on each pitch.
After one foul shot down the left-field line, Fielder rounded second base and shot a less-than-approving look at Deer.
Bring your bats and balls
Inspired by a series by The Sun's John Eisenberg, the Orioles and the Oriole Advocates are sponsoring a program to get used baseball equipment into the hands of needy children both in Baltimore and the Dominican Republic.
On May 2, fans will be asked to bring used gloves, bats, balls, shinguards and masks to the ballpark and drop them into special containers located at each entrance to Oriole Park.
The team and the advocates hope to fill a 40-foot-long shipping container with the equipment, which will be distributed to youngsters in the city and in the Dominican Republic.
Send 'em to the showers
It seems that not all of the kinks have been worked out of the spacious Orioles clubhouse yet.
Specifically, the new showers leave quite a bit to be desired. As Oates tells it, the pressure coming out of the shower heads is too strong and the force of the water is irritating some of the players' skin.
Leave it to all-world shortstop Cal Ripken to come up with a solution. Ripken simply brought in his own shower head, and with the assistance of his father, third base coach Cal Ripken Sr., got a shower that all can live with.
Maybe the Ripkens did their job too well. It seems that now there's a line to use the one good shower.
Third base umpire Jim McKean was sent back to his hotel during the 50-minute rain delay, the first delay at Oriole Park, with an infected throat.