Fernandez pitching again, feels no pain

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

March 30, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Left-hander Sid Fernandez was on the mound for the first time in two weeks yesterday. This time, he walked off it with reason to smile instead of wince.

Fernandez threw from the mound for 8 1/2 minutes and reported no discomfort.

"I felt great today," he said. "I can tell whatever I had isn't there anymore. It shouldn't take me much time at all to come back."

Fernandez had bursitis of the left shoulder.

The shoulder strengthening program calls for Fernandez, tentatively scheduled to make his first start April 17 at Texas, to throw again tomorrow, then face batters Saturday in batting practice at Camden Yards before the exhibition game against Philadelphia.

"I feel a lot better than I did early in camp," Fernandez said. "The only thing now is I have to get my mechanics down."

If frustrated best described Fernandez's mood for much of camp, then encouraged fit yesterday.

"I don't like to come to the ballpark to watch people doing something I like doing," he said. "But it hasn't been too bad. No one's been hassling me. No one's been riding me."

Fernandez is scheduled to pitch batting practice twice and throw in two minor-league injury rehabilitation assignments.

Barring setbacks, Fernandez will slide into the Orioles' rotation when it expands from four to five pitchers.

"We'll be looking for five or six innings and anywhere from 80 to 100 pitches," pitching coach Dick Bosman said.

"We're not dealing with any traumatic injury. We're just trying to build strength now."

How? Weights, time, and pitches.

McLemore sidelined

Batting during a soft-toss drill yesterday afternoon, second baseman Mark McLemore was struck above his right eye when one of his hits ricocheted off a steel pole.

After icing the bruise, McLemore left the complex with a severe headache.

McLemore is scheduled to be re-examined tomorrow and is not expected back in the lineup before Saturday.

Two veterans signed

The Orioles signed left-hander Tom Bolton and infielder Tracy Woodson to Triple-A contracts.

Bolton was 6-6 with a 4.47 ERA in 43 appearances for Detroit last season.

Woodson, who plays both corners of the infield, batted .208 in 62 games for St. Louis in 1993.

Bolton is listed as a backup pitcher for tonight's exhibition game in Sarasota against the White Sox.

No Orioles waived

The final date to ask waivers on a player without having to pay a full year's salary passed yesterday without the Orioles doing anything, which bodes well for Leo Gomez's chances of being on the Opening Day roster.

"We said Leo was too good a player to consider something like that, and we meant it," said Orioles general manager Roland Hemond, who did not discount the possibility Gomez could be traded. "It looks like he'll be with us."

Because Chris Sabo, signed to a one-year, $2 million contract, can become a free agent at the end of 1994, Gomez provides insurance.

"That's part of it," Hemond said. "And you try to protect yourself against anything that might happen."

Baez, Wegmann debut

Right-hander Tom Wegmann and shortstop Kevin Baez, the players acquired from the New York Mets for David Segui, made their debuts in a minor-league game yesterday.

Baez singled twice and doubled twice.

Wegmann pitched one shutout inning and struck out two.

Orioles base-running and first-base coach Davey Lopes managed Wegmann in the Arizona Fall League.

"I like him a lot," Lopes said. "He's a little different in that he is a right-hander who has the ability to get left-handers out. He has a real good changeup, and he's very flexible. You can use him as everything but a stopper. He can pitch three or four innings if they need that, or he can come in just to get a left-hander out.

"He's not overpowering, but with that changeup, he can throw some hitters off. He's very resilient. He likes to pitch, and he's a gutsy kid.

"He has all the characteristics you like to see," Lopes said.

ORIOLES TONIGHT

Opponent: Chicago White Sox

Site: Sarasota, Fla.

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: HTS

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