FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Alan Mills has been diagnosed with some form of tendinitis in the back of his shoulder, according to manager Davey Johnson, and for that he was given a cortisone shot that should sideline him for about 10 days.
After that, Johnson said, Mills will be brought along "nice and easy." Translation: There is no chance Mills will be ready for Opening Day, and it's more likely he won't be available until the end of April, at the earliest.
The news probably will spur the pursuit of Florida right-hander David Weathers to bolster the Orioles' middle relief. The Marlins are loaded with right-handers, making Weathers available. Florida needs a left-handed reliever for middle innings, and the Orioles could dangle Mark Lee.
Since the Orioles expressed interest, Weathers has been scheduled to face them tomorrow.
Mills, 29, had shoulder surgery in August for the removal of bone spurs, and he seemed to be coming back strongly after reporting to camp. But on March 5, he threw poorly in a B game in St. Petersburg, and reported soreness.
Mussina shrugs it off
Success on the mound is not always measured by wins and earned-run averages.
Orioles starter Mike Mussina was hammered by the Montreal Expos yesterday in a 13-10 victory, but for the most part, the eight hits and five runs he was charged with are not that important. The fact that he threw 51 pitches in just three innings to 17 batters isn't the end of the world either.
"I'm not concerned with results right now," Mussina said. "The only numbers that matter are how many pitches I threw and where I threw them. I wasn't getting behind and my mechanics were pretty good. I didn't walk anybody and I got my first three strikeouts."
The good news for Orioles fans is that Mussina threw 20 more pitches than he did in his last start, and felt no pain from the stomach muscle that sidelined him from March 2 to 14. He had good command of his pitches and stayed ahead in the count. Only 12 of the 51 pitches were balls.
Bonilla is on a tear
Bobby Bonilla is the hottest Oriole at the plate.
The slugger is 11-for-19 (.579) over his last six games with a home run, seven runs scored and seven RBIs. Bonilla had a single, a double and a walk in three plate appearances yesterday and drove in two runs.
He started the spring in a 2-for-23 skid with one run scored and two RBIs. Bonilla said he is not doing anything differently and thus is not impressed.
"When was the last time spring training games counted?" Bonilla said. "It doesn't matter."
Welcome day off
Players and coaches alike were quick to bolt from the clubhouse after yesterday's game. Today is the Orioles' only day off of spring training, and it will be celebrated.
Some players, such as outfielder Mark Smith, are planning to sleep late and relax pool-side, weather permitting. Others, like // Mussina, hope to take in a dolphin and whale show.
Johnson is flying to Orlando for the day to see his family.
"It's been kind of rough," Johnson said. "We haven't had a lot of off days and we've had to do a lot of traveling. It's good to have some time off."
Alexander is Johnson MVP
Manny Alexander left for the Dominican Republic yesterday to attend to some family business. He is scheduled to be back in Florida in time for tomorrow's 1 p.m. game against the Marlins.
Alexander is enjoying a terrific spring. He is hitting .432 with 10 RBIs and has excelled at his natural infield positions and played solidly in the outfield as well, although he committed an error yesterday by misjudging a fly ball in center field.
"Manny's been the MVP of the spring to me," Johnson said. "He's gotten a lot of at-bats against quality pitching. He's such a good athlete he runs and throws so well. I think he's very valuable to this organization and to this ballclub. It's a learning experience for him. We're not trying to make him a regular outfielder."
Around the horn
Outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds missed his fourth straight game with a strained stomach muscle. Johnson said he expects Hammonds to play tomorrow. . . . Second baseman Roberto Alomar was hit on the forearm by a pitch in the sixth inning but said he felt fine after the game. . . . The PA announcer referred to outfielder Brady Anderson as "Brady Alexander" in the first dTC inning, then Anderson hit a leadoff homer, his second of the spring.
Pub Date: 3/19/96