Milligan, bruised but not broken, to rejoin Orioles

April 23, 1992|By Ken Rosenthal | Ken Rosenthal,Staff Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- First baseman Randy Milligan suffered a severe concussion in his collision with second baseman Bill Ripken last night, but X-rays on his neck, cheekbone and jaw showed no fractures, and the Orioles expected him to be released from St. Luke's Hospital this afternoon.

Manager John Oates said Milligan could return as early as this weekend or be sidelined two weeks due to lingering soreness from a bruised cheekbone. Milligan also stretched a nerve in his right shoulder, but that condition is not believed to be serious.

Ripken, meanwhile, is day-to-day after bruising his left shoulder. He underwent a series of X-rays at St. Luke's, but returned to Royals Stadium after the Orioles' 2-1 win over Kansas City. The doctors, he said, took "9,000 pictures of nothing."

The collision occurred in the fifth inning, and Milligan was knocked unconscious after ranging far to his right on a routine grounder to second. Trainer Richie Bancells said he was still unconscious for five to eight seconds after he reached him.

For the next 20 minutes, Milligan laid virtually motionless on the field. Bancells said Milligan initially experienced numbness throughout his entire body and a burning sensation in his neck. He eventually was placed on a stretcher and fitted with a neck brace and head restraint.

Both Milligan and Ripken left the field in an ambulance, accompanied by Orioles assistant trainer Jamie Reed and emergency medical personnel. Longtime Royals groundskeeper George Toma said it was the first time he could remember an ambulance removing a player from the field.

Ripken regained full range of motion at the hospital, and figures to make a swift recovery. Milligan, however, is likely to be placed on the 15-day disabled list. If nothing else, Oates almost certainly needs a healthy body, although the club might not reach a decision today.

First baseman Glenn Davis (strained rib-cage muscle) is eligible to come off the DL, but he remains in Baltimore undergoing treatment. The Orioles could delay their move if he is close to returning, or they could simply recall a player from Triple-A Rochester.

The most likely candidate under the latter scenario is first baseman/outfielder Doug Jennings, who spent parts of the last four seasons with Oakland, then signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles after becoming a free agent this spring.

Jennings, 27, is a lefthanded hitter, batting .300 at Rochester. David Segui -- 1-for-20 (.050) on the season -- likely will start at first base until either Milligan or Davis returns. Segui had sat six straight games before replacing Milligan in the fifth inning last night and going 0-for-2.

Earlier this spring, when both Milligan and Davis were healthy, Segui joked, "If the bus wrecks, maybe I'll get a chance to play."

Last night the bus wrecked.

Fortunately, it appears everyone is all right.

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