Liner ends Rhodes' outing early thigh bruise not thought serious

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

March 25, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A line drive off the bat of Toronto's Ed Sprague sent Arthur Rhodes out of yesterday's start and into the training room in the second inning.

Rhodes' condition was diagnosed as a contusion of the right quadriceps muscle.

"I don't anticipate it backing him up, but we'll know more in the morning," Orioles trainer Richie Bancells said. "He walked out of here great."

Rhodes is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday in Clearwater against Philadelphia.

"I threw him a fastball, and when he hit it, I never saw it," Rhodes said. "It tipped off my glove and hit the inside of my thigh. It hurts an awful lot now, but I don't think it's serious."

Orioles manager Johnny Oates, who watched four relievers combine with Rhodes on a six-hit shutout, was encouraged by reports on Rhodes' thigh.

"It was all muscle and they got to it quick, so hopefully everything should be OK," Oates said.

Rhodes has two exhibition starts remaining.

T. R. Lewis moves to third

The Orioles released Terry Jorgensen, a nonroster invitee who had been projected to play third base at Rochester, a move that exhibits how far hitting prospect T. R. Lewis has progressed from arm troubles.

General manager Roland Hemond said the Orioles signed Jorgensen because they were uncertain until recently of Lewis' arm strength.

Lewis, the Orioles' fourth-round choice in the 1989 draft, is set to open the year at third base for Rochester.

Lewis, 22, hit .304 with 64 RBI at Double-A Bowie last season, his first experience beyond the Class-A level. He played first base because he was not recovered fully from shoulder surgery he underwent in June 1991. Until last season, he had been used as a designated hitter because of the shoulder problems that were brought on by poor throwing mechanics.

Lewis also suffered injuries in a 1989 automobile accident in which his girlfriend was killed.

"If he didn't have injuries, he would probably be our third baseman today," Hemond said.

In another roster move yesterday, left-hander Brian DuBois was optioned to Rochester, where he will begin the season in the starting rotation.

Gaston hints at payback

Toronto manager Cito Gaston didn't duck the question when asked if he was upset about Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Erickson's pitch that hit Blue Jays right fielder Joe Carter, breaking his thumb.

"I thought it was a knockdown pitch," Gaston said. "I can't prove it, but I thought it was. I think he ought to be a little hesitant about coming in there again. It might be an all-out war."

Oates backs Gomez

The arrival of Chris Sabo seemingly left Leo Gomez without a spot on the Orioles' 25-man roster, but Oates said otherwise yesterday.

"As far as I know, he's on the ballclub," Oates said. "He's not out there as trade bait. Everyone says he's trade bait, but teams can't come in here and get him for nothing. He may DH some, play some first, play some third, pinch hit. Maybe everyone thinks that because Chris Sabo is here we're just going to let him walk. That's not the case."

Gomez does not fit the profile Oates favors for bench players.

"Part of their job is to stay ready," Oates said. "They are going to have to be like Tim Hulett. They have to be able to sit for 10 days then come in and get three hits off of Jack McDowell. That's why our bench is going to be a little older than it was last year."

Gomez, 27, appeared surprised to hear Oates say he will be one of the 25 men on the roster, but did not take it as a guarantee.

"You never know in this game," Gomez said. "This is a crazy game. I'd like to stay in Baltimore as long as I stay in the big leagues. If they want me to stay here, I want to stay here. If they want to trade me, then I want to be traded."

Sabo signed a free-agent contract that will pay him $2 million plus incentives this season.

"He only signed a one-year deal, so you don't know if they are going to bring him back," Gomez said.

Technically, it was a one-year deal, but Sabo's contract stipulates the Orioles must offer him arbitration for 1995.

"Playing once a week is a very difficult thing to do when you are used to playing every day," he said.

Oates for president?

Oates will speak to the Orioles investors tomorrow morning.

"It will be like a state-of-the-union address," Oates said.

Principal owner Peter Angelos will arrive tomorrow and spend the weekend visiting camp. Angelos will host a dinner tomorrow night for players, front-office officials and their families.

ORIOLES TODAY

Opponent: Minnesota Twins

Site: St. Petersburg, Fla.

Time: 1:05 p.m.

TV: HTS

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

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