Fernandez has long way home


August 11, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Sid Fernandez, who lives in Hawaii in the off-season, has the longest distance to travel to get home, which leaves him even more indecisive than most of his teammates with the reality of a strike bearing down on them.

"I'll probably stay in Baltimore for a while, then if it looks like it's going to be a long one I might go home," Fernandez said. "If I go home it's a 13-hour trip. It's not like Cal [Ripken], who lives in Baltimore and can just drive home."

Fernandez said several high school diamonds will be available should he decide to throw to keep his arm in shape.

"But the idea of a strike is not supposed to be working out," Fernandez said. "That's what broke the union in football. When they saw the football players working out across the street, they knew they were anxious to come back."

Fernandez, in Florida during the spring training lockout by the owners in 1990, said he and teammates Bob Ojeda and Keith Miller worked out together, but they weren't playing baseball.

"We played basketball and that drove them crazy," Fernandez said. "They were pretty sad games. We all had one-inch vertical jumps. I'm no good at that game at all."

In contrast, Ripken is an accomplished basketball player. Whether he will be playing that sport or doing baseball-related drills he did not say.

"I've never been through a strike, so I don't know what I'll be doing," said Ripken, whose career began when the 1981 strike ended. "I showed up here tonight trying to think about the best way possible to beat the Yankees. I will show up tomorrow thinking about the best way possible to beat the Red Sox. Then we'll take it from there."

First baseman Rafael Palmeiro said he will return home to Texas and will not pick up a bat during the strike. "Why hit?" Palmeiro said. "I'll be ready when we come back."

Mike Mussina and Jim Poole, the Orioles' player representatives, will keep the players informed on the progress of negotiations during the strike, at least those who will be reachable.

"I have several options," said Mark McLemore, who lives in Phoenix, Ariz., in the off-season. "I could stay in Baltimore, go to Phoenix, or go to Australia [for a vacation]. I don't know what I'll be doing yet."

Jeffrey Hammonds said he won't decide what to do until the strike hits.

Catcher Chris Hoiles said he likely will spend some time at the Pennsylvania cabin of bullpen catcher Sammy Snider, who will throw batting practice to Hoiles.

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