Hulett is bloody well ready Hit in nose by thrown ball, utility man stitched but OK

Orioles notebook

April 05, 1993|By Peter Schmuck and Jim Henneman | Peter Schmuck and Jim Henneman,Staff Writers

Utility infielder Tim Hulett was injured yesterday when he was hit in the face by a thrown ball during the Orioles' afternoon workout, but he will be available for today's game.

Hulett ran into the path of a throw by shortstop Cal Ripken during batting and infield practice. His nose and upper lip were bloodied, and precautionary X-rays were taken. Club officials said the X-rays were negative, but that Hulett required a couple of stitches for a cut lip.

Last night, Orioles spokesman Rick Vaughn said Hulett would be able to play.

Manager Johnny Oates still may hold him out, taking advantage of tomorrow's day off to let him recuperate.

Valenzuela, McLemore sign

The Orioles made it official yesterday, though the contract status of 1eft-handed pitcher Fernando Valenzuela and utility player Mark McLemore has not been in doubt since the club cut to 26 players on Wednesday.

Valenzuela signed a one-year contract with a base salary of $250,000 and incentives for performance and awards that could take it up to nearly $1 million. The terms of McLemore's contract were not disclosed.

Manager Johnny Oates also announced that Valenzuela would make his first start for the Orioles on April 13 against the Texas Rangers at Arlington Stadium. He will be a spot starter until May, when -- if all goes well -- he would become a regular starter.

The club held a brief news conference to introduce Valenzuela to the local media, though he has been giving interviews since he joined the team as a non-roster player Feb. 27.

"We're very happy that he chose to come to Orioles camp this spring and that his representatives, Antonio DeMarco and Dick Moss, decided that this would be a good place for him to play," general manager Roland Hemond said. "He was a great boost to this ballclub."

It was the realization of a dream for Valenzuela, who had fallen out of the major leagues in 1991 after a 10-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played briefly with the California Angels that year, but has not pitched in a major-league game in nearly two years.

"When I got released by the Dodgers, that was a hard part of my career," he said, "but I never lost confidence that I could pitch in the big leagues."

Gomez on track

Third baseman Leo Gomez said yesterday that his questionable right shoulder is ready to start the season. Gomez undertook a rigorous rehabilitation program after he suffered a partial dislocation late last season. He avoided surgery, but that might still be an option if his shoulder becomes unstable.

"At the beginning of spring training, it was a little tight," Gomez said, "but it's fine. Everything is good. I'm ready to go."

Gomez is set to bat seventh in the Opening Day lineup.

Sutcliffe is 9-for-Openers

Today's assignment will be the ninth Opening Day start for Rick Sutcliffe. He will be performing before his third president.

Sutcliffe pitched the inaugural game at Camden Yards last year, when President Bush threw the first pitch, and also pitched for the Cubs in Wrigley Field several years ago when President Reagan was a guest play-by-play announcer.

L Sutcliffe is 5-2 with one no-decision in Opening Day starts.

And Hendricks is 25-for-O's

For bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, this will be his 25th season opening in an Orioles uniform, the most in club history. Brooks Robinson was in uniform for 21 openers, the record for a player.

Cal Ripken will be playing in his 12th opener, tying him with Paul Blair, Eddie Murray and Boog Powell for the third highest (behind Robinson and Mark Belanger) in club history.

Students for Stars and Stripes

Nikki Laws, a 16-year-old junior at Parkville High School, will sing the national anthem before today's game.

Accompanying her will be 45 youngsters, ages 6 to 14, who will be wearing costumes from around the world and signing the national anthem.

Mercedes, Baines make marks

Luis Mercedes will be the first rookie to appear in the Orioles' starting Opening Day lineup since 1989, when Steve Finley and Craig Worthington did it.

Harold Baines will be appearing in his first opener for the Orioles, but it will be the 14th overall for the St. Michael's native.

Opening bits

The Orioles have the same record (24-15) in both season and home openers. . . . Today's game will be the 26th season opener the club has played at home. . . . It is the fourth time the Orioles have opened against the Rangers, all at home. They are 2-1 in the previous three games.

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