Hoiles, team discuss how to manage shoulder

Orioles notebook

March 25, 1996|By JASON LACANFORA | JASON LACANFORA,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- General manager Pat Gillick and manager Davey Johnson met with Chris Hoiles yesterday to discuss the Orioles' thoughts on the catcher's injured shoulder.

On Saturday, Gillick disclosed that Hoiles has had arthritis in his shoulder joint since last spring, a condition that never will heal completely. The injury can hinder Hoiles' ability to throw out runners (he's just 2-for-9 in that department this spring), and Gillick said Hoiles' arm strength will factor into his decision to trade for a backup catcher.

"If we're going to manage the situation, he has to make us aware when he has stiffness or soreness," Gillick said. "In those cases, XTC we'll use him as a DH. Our position is, he is the judge of how his arm feels. He's had no stiffness or soreness this spring. The way Davey has gradually brought him along has been a very positive situation for him."

Yesterday's meeting gave Gillick and Johnson a chance to let Hoiles know they still think highly of him. Johnson said all of the media attention given to the shoulder has confused Hoiles.

"We've been saying all along that we were looking for catchers," Johnson said. "That doesn't mean [Hoiles'] arm is hurt. He keeps thinking someone is bad-mouthing his arm. Every time he reads something in the paper it says he can't throw. Every day [reporters] ask him about his arm. He's tired of the questions."

"As far as I'm concerned, [my shoulder] is 100 percent," Hoiles said. "It hasn't hindered me in any way. The last three or four days I've done more than they've asked me to do. As far as I'm concerned, I'm right on track. I'm not saying it totally went away, I'm saying right now it feels fine."

Gillick said the Orioles are concerned with their depth at catcher in case Hoiles or backup Gregg Zaun gets hurt. Gillick said he'd like to acquire a young catcher with some promise who could play every day in Rochester and be able to handle himself in the majors in an emergency role.

Gillick did not mention Cesar Devarez, who played in Rochester last year and is the only other catcher still in camp, in the third catcher/emergency call-up role.

Outfielders meet

Johnson met with his outfielders yesterday to discuss their defensive communication.

With players switching fields all spring long and Jeffrey Hammonds coming off an injury- plagued season, there hasn't been much continuity in the Orioles' outfield. Tony Tarasco was added to the mix a week ago when he was acquired from Montreal, so the feeling-out process is ongoing.

"Davey mostly left it up to [the outfielders] to get together as a group," Tarasco said. "It's just some minor adjustments. We've still got to get to know each other.

Roster cut to 31

The Orioles trimmed their roster to 31 players yesterday by assigning outfielder Joe Hall and catcher Kris Gresham to minor-league camp. Hall and Gresham said they will report to Triple-A Rochester. The Orioles must trim six more players from their roster before Opening Day.

None of this is new to Hall. The 31-year-old was cut by the Chicago White Sox at the end of spring training last year and caught on with the Detroit Tigers.

"It always helps to stay in major-league camp as long as you can," Hall said. "You get a chance to show the coaches what you can do. The outfield situation is pretty much locked. They want to see me play every day in Rochester and I could be back up here when someone gets injured."

Lee's shoulder examined

Left-hander Mark Lee had his pitching shoulder examined by doctors yesterday.

"He has a little tendinitis in there, but we're not concerned with it at all," assistant general manger Kevin Malone said. "There a lot of guys who need innings, but we're hoping to pitch him again this spring."

Around the horn

Palmeiro's home is featured on the cover of this month's Audio Visual Interiors magazine. Palmeiro's movie room graces the cover and other shots of the home are displayed on the inside pages. . . . Tarasco stole his fourth base of the spring yesterday in five attempts. . . . Former Oriole Brad Pennington is fighting for the Red Sox's final bullpen spot. Pennington has not given up a run in eight spring innings, but true to form, he's walked six batters.

Ups and downs

Ups and downs Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox yesterday:

Ups

Starter Scott Erickson was the first Orioles pitcher to go seven innings this spring, scattering six hits for one run. He struck out six batters over a three-inning stretch, from the second inning to the fourth.

Roger McDowell picked up his first spring save by closing out the ninth inning with two strikeouts and a groundout. McDowell has not yielded a run in 7 1/3 innings this spring.

Jeffrey Hammonds went 2-for-3 with a run scored to raise his spring average to .404.

Downs

The conditions were less than optimal again yesterday. A swirling wind, which seems to be a fixture in Fort Lauderdale, made life difficult for outfielders Hammonds and Tony Tarasco.

Pub Date: 3/25/96

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