Sid's bulk weighs on Oates' mind

SIDELIGHT

August 03, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Orioles left-hander Sid Fernandez, scratched yesterday from his scheduled start today, received a cortisone injection in his aching left knee, which might push his next start as far back as next Monday in New York.

Fernandez has undergone surgery on both knees during his career and has taken two trips to the disabled list this season that were not related to his knees.

He has made 10 injury rehabilitation starts in the past four seasons.

The question often arises as to whether the condition of Fernandez -- who weighs way over the 225 pounds listed in the Orioles' media guide -- is linked to his weight.

Orioles manager Johnny Oates was asked that question yesterday.

"The guy has pitched this way his whole career," Oates said. "We know he's heavy. He knows he's heavy. His wife knows he's heavy. Our fitness coach knows he's heavy. We've done everything we can and I'm sure we're not the first people."

Oates said he does not think this injury was caused by Fernandez's weight, but he still would prefer a slimmer pitcher.

"It doesn't take a lot of smarts to realize it would be a whole lot easier on his legs and his whole body," Oates said. "This is not something new this year. We knew about it when we signed him."

Oates said Fernandez, who is 6 feet 1, weighs only 3 more pounds now than at the start of the season.

The Orioles, Oates said, have done all they can to try to help Fernandez get in shape. "We have to walk with him to make sure he does his weights," Oates said.

Fernandez is sick of hearing about his weight.

"That's the way it's been my whole career," he said after last night's game. "People always got to find something to blame it on and that's usually what it is. When you're pitching good it's not a problem. Every time you pitch bad, it's, 'Oh, it looks like he's gained a few pounds.' I'm not going to take it anymore, especially from the press."

Fernandez's size did not prevent him from amassing impressive totals in 11 seasons in the National League. He went 98-79 with a 3.15 ERA, but has been prone to allowing home runs in his first season with the Orioles.

Fernandez has allowed 26 home runs in 109 2/3 innings and is 6-6 with a 5.09 ERA in the first year of a three-year, $9 million contract.

In Fernandez's absence, left-hander Jamie Moyer will make the start in today's series finale.

Mark Williamson, who lasted 5 1/3 innings in his only start of the season, will be ready to stand in for Fernandez tomorrow in the opener of a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at County Stadium.

Athletes generally need at least 48 hours to recover from cortisone shots, so Williamson likely will make the start.

"That's the good thing about Willy," Oates said. "He can pitch on last second notice."

Oates will wait to see what the cortisone shot does before deciding when Fernandez will make his next start.

"I might hold Sid back until Monday and let him pitch against the Yankees," Oates said.

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