Orioles' Wells tested for rapid heart rate Condition doesn't look serious, doctor says

March 12, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher David Wells underwent tests yesterday to determine the cause of a rapid heart rate that started increasing Sunday night, and one of the first tests revealed no abnormalities.

Wells, 32, checked into Holy Cross Hospital here and was expected to remain under care overnight, as the tests continued and his rapid heart rate was treated. One of the first tests, an EKG, revealed no abnormalities, according to Orioles team doctor William Goldiner.

A rapid heart rate, Goldiner said, "may or may not be serious. All evidence [in Wells' case] points to it not being serious."

Wells was scratched from his scheduled exhibition start today against the Florida Marlins, and if he has no serious problems, Goldiner indicated he'll be sidelined for two or three days before resuming his training schedule. A cardiologist here was expected to lower Wells' heart rate last night, possibly with the use of medication.

Wells' heart began to beat rapidly Sunday night, but the pitcher did not go to a hospital. Yesterday morning, Wells went to the Orioles' training complex and played cards with teammates, and tried out new pieces of stereo equipment, blasting music in the clubhouse for a few minutes. He also complained about his rapid heart rate to team trainers, who checked his pulse and found Wells' rate to be unusually high. (A rapid heartbeat can drive the heart rate to 200 beats per minute.) Wells went to the hospital a couple of hours later.

Wells passed his team physical last month without signs of heart trouble, Goldiner said. Wells began taking medication for an allergy within the past 10 days, which, Goldiner indicated, could be one of the many "odd things" that could cause an increased heart rate. Others include stress or caffeine.

Davey Johnson, who managed Wells last year in Cincinnati, said that he knew of no prior heart troubles for Wells, and that he didn't know of any reason to think the problem could be serious.

"He's in great shape," Johnson said. "He's been through all the running and stuff without any problem. . . . Since I've known him, he's a nine-inning guy, a horse, never had a problem.

"Hopefully, it's just a reaction to something. Maybe it was something he ate, or coffee."

Wells could not be reached for comment.

Orioles general manager Pat Gillick said: "Our concern is for the player right now."

The Orioles acquired Wells from the Reds in December, and the left-hander is in the last year of a contract that will pay him $3 million this year. He's slated to be the No. 2 starter, behind Mike Mussina.

Pub Date: 3/12/96

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