Hammonds progressing, but he is still on hold

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

May 29, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Right-fielder Jeffrey Hammonds, on the disabled list with a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, remains in a holding pattern.

Hammonds, who has been receiving therapy daily at the Bennett Institute, will be re-examined by team orthopedist Michael Jacobs tomorrow.

"He's making some progress," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said. "He's coming along nicely, but I really can't say how soon he'll be back."

Hemond reiterated there are no plans for knee surgery.

"He's mending nicely, and we'll just have to let nature take its course," Hemond said. "The thing we have to be careful about is not rushing him back before he's ready. You look back at Paul Molitor's career, and you see he had a long list of ailments early in his career. A lot of times he came back too soon from the injuries and was set back. We have to make sure to let this run its proper course."

Meanwhile, Hammonds' teammates miss his presence in the lineup.

"He's a great player," first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said. "He brings a lot, speed, power. He's a good outfielder. He can steal a base. He can do it all."

Beware of Hulett

Tim Hulett, a lifetime .409 hitter against White Sox right-hander Jack McDowell, will be in the lineup at second base today against the American League Cy Young Award winner.

FTC It will be the ninth start and fifth at second base for Hulett, who batted .300 last season and took a .300 batting average into last night's game.

Unlike career starter Chris Sabo, Hulett has not talked about a lack of playing time. He says he realizes Leo Gomez has earned the right to play third.

"Leo staying on the club was a little bit of a surprise," Hulett said. "With Chris getting hurt, he got a chance to play and got off to a real good start. That helped his confidence, and he's helped the team. I don't have any problem with that."

Hulett has not been one to complain about playing time, even as badly as he wants to play more.

"To me there's no benefit to it," Hulett said. "That negative thinking can really make you harbor bad feelings, and you can take that to the field with you. I tell guys who complain to me if they want to be mad, be mad. If they want to take it to the manager, go take it to the manager, but when you are called on to play, you better be ready."

Hoiles rejuvenated

Catcher Chris Hoiles, given the day off Wednesday in Milwaukee coupled with Thursday's off day, had a rare two-day rest.

"The team that keeps their guys sound all year is going to be one who's going to win it," Hoiles said. "You want to stay in the race right now, have your replacement guys play in enough games so they feel comfortable, and keep your first nine guys healthy for August and September."

Miscellaneous

First base coach Davey Lopes, away from the team the past two weeks to attend to a motorcycle accident in the family, will rejoin the team tomorrow at Camden Yards, according to Hemond. . . . Hemond said he has not spoken with agent Eric Goldschmidt about free agent outfielder Ron Gant since the initial interest was expressed. Gant, injured in a motocross accident during the winter, has not run yet. "I figure he'll let me know when he feels [Gant] will be worthy of being looked at," Hemond said. . . . The search for a left-handed hitting outfielder continues. "We're still exploring the possibility, but those things aren't as easy to get done as you might think. Just because you have a desire for something doesn't mean you can get it. A lot of the players you want fit in for their clubs, too." . . . Hemond on the playing-time dissatisfaction expressed by third baseman Sabo: "Chris is accustomed to being out there. It's good that he has that type of desire to want to be out there every day." . . . The Orioles will reach the million mark in home attendance tomorrow night, in the opener of a seven-game homestand against Detroit and Chicago. The milestone will be reached in the Orioles' 22nd home date. Last year, when the Orioles drew a record 3,644,965, they reached the million mark in the 23rd home date.

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