Baines slowly rounds into shape Takes 1st swings since going on DL

Orioles notebook

May 18, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

Designated hitter Harold Baines took his first swings in 10 days yesterday, but he still has a way to go before he is ready to come off the disabled list.

Baines, who has been sidelined since he suffered a strained muscle in his rib cage on May 4, swung lightly at balls on a batting tee before last night's game. If all goes well, he might be able to take batting practice later in the week.

"He swung the bat pretty good and didn't feel a lot of pain," manager Johnny Oates said. "He'll do the same tomorrow, and if there is no pain, maybe he'll take some batting practice Wednesday or Thursday."

Baines said yesterday that he is encouraged by the progress he has made, but remained only guardedly optimistic about his impending resumption of workouts.

"The pain has gone away," he said, "but I really haven't done any baseball stuff yet. I shut it down for 10 days. Today was the first day I've picked up a bat, so I haven't done anything that would generate pain."

Rib cage injuries are very unpredictable, so the Orioles and Baines are taking no unnecessary chances. He is eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow, but it seems unlikely that he'll be back before next week.

"We just don't want there to be a relapse and have him out another two weeks," Oates said. "I think it's obvious now that it was the right decision to put him on the disabled list. It's going to be at least 15 days and probably a few more."

No doubt, Baines will be welcomed back into the starting lineup as soon as it is prudent to return. He was the club's hottest hitter when he felt his rib cage spasm on a checked swing in Minnesota.

Oates on Davis

First baseman Glenn Davis did not play last night and could remain in the background for several days, but Oates said there is no master plan to keep him out of the lineup.

"We don't have any long-range plan as to when he is going to play and when he's not going to play," Oates said.

It seems likely Davis will sit as long as David Segui is swinging the bat well. Segui, batting .263, ended a five-game hitting streak by going 0-for-3 last night.

Outfielder Sherman Obando, who had hit safely in five of his previous six games, was the designated hitter. He went 0-for-2.

Gomez on a roll

Third baseman Leo Gomez homered in each of the last two games in Detroit to extend his club lead in that department with six and join Brady Anderson and Mark McLemore in the RBI lead with 14.

"I'll take as many as they give me," Gomez said of the homers. "I just want to hit the ball hard somewhere, so I'm going up there to swing hard and make something happen."

He has been doing that -- hitting safely in seven of eight games going into last night -- but said yesterday that he is not trying to carry the struggling offense.

"I don't want to put pressure on myself. I just want to do my job," he said. "When you try to do too much, sometimes you don't do anything."

Nagy goes on DL

Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy, who started Opening Day, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with stiffness in his right shoulder. His spot on the roster will be filled by right-hander Scott Scudder, who had been on a rehabilitation assignment. Scudder will start tomorrow.

FIRING BLANKS

Last night's game was the Orioles' third consecutive shutout loss at Camden Yards:

Date .... Opponent ... Hits ... Score

5/11 .... Boston ....... 5 .... 4-0

5/12 .... Boston ....... 2 .... 2-0

5/17 .... Cleveland .... 4 .... 2-0

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