Hoiles' shoulder arthritic, GM says Gillick: Catcher's arm 'is not really all right'

March 24, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

VIERA, Fla. - Orioles general manager Pat Gillick revealed yesterday that catcher Chris Hoiles has had arthritis in his throwing shoulder since last year.

Gillick and head trainer Richie Bancells said the arthritic condition in Hoiles' throwing shoulder never can be completely corrected. The injury limits the arm strength of Hoiles, who has thrown out only one of seven runners attempting to steal this spring.

Aware of Hoiles' shoulder history, manager Davey Johnson has brought him along slowly this spring, using him at first base and designated hitter on occasion.

Hoiles suffered shoulder problems shortly after arriving for spring training last year and it hampered him throughout the first four months of the 1995 season. Hoiles, who signed a five-year, $17.25 million contract last spring, hit .208 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs before the All-Star break and .291 with nine homers and 31 RBIs after the break.

"It's something you kind of always have to keep your eye on," Gillick said. "His arm is not really all right. There's some arthritis in there. He's thrown better the last couple of days."

Gillick said Hoiles' condition can vary from day to day, which keeps the general manager on his toes evaluating his team's needs. If Hoiles' arm continues to look weak, Gillick said he will try to make a trade for another catcher. If Hoiles seems all right, Gillick said his priority will be to acquire a right-handed reliever.

Watching Hoiles is a daily endeavor for Bancells, too.

"It's an ongoing situation," Bancells said. "You can get the shoulder stronger, but there's a fine line between what's helping and what's not. I have to be careful he's on the right exercise program. For me, it's something you try to watch and manage every day."

Hoiles did not travel with the team yesterday, and could not be reached for comment.

Pub Date: 3/24/96

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