Myers a no-show? No problem, says Johnson Reliever will arrive in shape, says manager

Orioles notebook

February 17, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- No word better describes closer Randy Myers, said farm director Syd Thrift, than the word "different."

Myers already is different from the other Orioles pitchers. He and minor-leaguer Calvin Maduro are the only players who didn't arrive on the reporting date Thursday. Maduro pitched in winter ball and was given a few extra days to report. Myers called manager Davey Johnson earlier this week to tell him he would be late.

Johnson told Myers he would prefer the pitcher be in camp, but he knows that Myers will arrive in shape. Myers works out religiously, with a personal cardiovascular and weight-lifting program.

"I told him I realized he had his own program," Johnson said. "I don't agree with it, I think he should be here. But he works out unbelievably hard. That's just Randy. I hope he gets in here as soon as possible."

According to rules established in collective bargaining, Myers doesn't have to report until March 1. He indicated to Johnson he's staying at his Washington home to help coach the Clark Community College women's basketball team, which has qualified for the playoffs. Myers has served as an assistant with the team for years.

"He's the coach, I think," Johnson said, smiling. "Maybe he's the mascot. But I'm not worried about Randy. He takes care of himself."

Weaver checks in

Johnson had a surprise visitor before the Orioles began their first workout of the spring -- his former manager, Earl Weaver, who lives in Florida.

"That made my day," Johnson said. "I was on Cloud 9, and that put me on Cloud 12 or 13."

Weaver walked onto the field with Johnson as the workout began, then sat in the dugout and talked with general manager Pat Gillick.

"Davey was a guy who always asked questions," Weaver said. "He wanted to know about moves, why we made them. He must've had thoughts of managing then."

Weaver popped his head into Gillick's office when he arrived and saw a crowd of reporters talking to club executives.

"What, was there a trade or something?" Weaver asked.

Thrift laughed and said, "No, we're looking for a new manager."

Progress for Rhodes

Arthur Rhodes has a small scar the size of a dime on the front of his left shoulder -- the entry point for the instruments during his arthroscopic shoulder surgery last fall. Rhodes asked to see a videotape of the procedure.

"It looked kind of nasty," he said, "but everything turned out great."

Rhodes says he feels good, and has already started throwing off a mound. "I might be back at the end of spring training," he said. "But I'm not going to push it. If I feel anything [pain or soreness], I'll tell the trainers and we'll take it a little more slowly."

The Orioles aren't expecting Rhodes to be back in action until the middle or end of April, at the earliest.

Rhodes plans to attend his arbitration hearing Monday in New York. He's asking for $675,000; the Orioles are offering $300,000.

Beware Indians, Yankees

Gillick, on what other teams he thinks have helped themselves this off-season: "Probably Cleveland, adding Julio Franco and Jack McDowell. That helps them quite a bit. I think the Yankees picking up Kenny Rogers is going to help them. They could have a really good club. They have a few question marks -- Dwight Gooden, Steve Howe, Melido Perez, Jimmy Key. If some of those guys come around, that's going to be a good ballclub."

Ruling class

Mike Mussina met with Johnson for about 20 minutes yesterday morning to go over team rules. Mussina is the club's player representative, and Johnson asked his opinion on what rules were acceptable and what rules might cause a problem.

One rule that will be enforced is the ban on any facial hair other than a closely trimmed mustache. Reliever Jesse Orosco grew a Fu Manchu during the off-season and planned to ask Johnson whether he could keep it.

However, Johnson walked up to Orosco in greeting the pitcher to spring training and put his hand at Orosco's mouth.

"You can shave it back to here," Johnson said. Orosco grabbed a razor and shaved off the whole thing.

Around the horn

Johnson talked briefly with Chris Hoiles and Bobby Bonilla about playing some at first base in intrasquad games. . . . Malone is working on signing the last of the unsigned players besides Rhodes: pitchers Rick Krivda and Mark Lee, outfielders Jeffrey Hammonds, Kimera Bartee and Mark Smith, catcher Cesar Devarez and infielder Manny Alexander.

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