Tigers lose top pitcher to injury Rookie Thompson to miss at least next two starts

Orioles Notebook

June 07, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Left-handed starter Justin Thompson, perhaps the lone bright spot on a Detroit Tigers pitching staff that could go down as the worst in baseball history, is expected to go on the disabled list with stiffness in his pitching shoulder and is likely to miss at least two starts.

Thompson was examined in Detroit yesterday, but his magnetic resonance imaging results will not be ready until today.

"Justin is really down," Tigers manager Buddy Bell said. "I can handle this from a team standpoint. I'm more concerned with how he feels. I feel bad for him. I mean, this is a kid who just made it to the big leagues."

Thompson, the Tigers' No. 1 draft pick in 1991, made two sparkling starts after being recalled from Triple-A Toledo in May. He did not face the Orioles this series and was not scheduled to face them in Detroit next week, either.

Aches and pains

The Orioles are dealing with some injury woes as well, but on a much smaller scale.

Right-handed reliever Roger McDowell, the iron man of the bullpen, has a stiff pitching shoulder and manager Davey Johnson said he would be reluctant to use him last night.

"I think I'll stay off Roger today," Johnson said. "He feels like he can pitch, but I don't want to push him."

B. J. Surhoff, whose first-inning grand slam got the Orioles started last night, has not played the field since coming off the disabled list on Sunday. Johnson said Surhoff's ankle could be healed enough by the weekend for him to return to third base. Catcher Chris Hoiles has a sore elbow and did not play last night. Outfielder Mike Devereaux is nursing a sore shoulder and did not start last night either.

Johnson said outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds also is experiencing stiffness in the back of his shoulder, but the ailment is not what has kept Hammonds out of the starting lineup for three straight games.

"At times Jeffrey's looked a little anxious at the plate," Johnson said. "He'll get back in the lineup. Right now, I'm playing the guys who are playing the best."

Draft update

The Orioles completed the 1996 June draft yesterday, selecting 46 players in all.

The draft was deepest at pitcher, but the Orioles still managed to take 20 position players.

Orioles representatives were scheduled to begin negotiating with their first choice, high school pitcher Brian Falkenborg (second round, 51st overall) at his home in Redmond, Wash., last night.

Director of scouting Gary Nickels said the team was pleasantly surprised that shortstop Augie Ojeda was available in the 13th round. Tim DeCinces, son of former Oriole Doug, was taken in the 17th round and University of Oklahoma basketball standout Ryan Minor, who is expected to go high in the NBA draft, was taken in the 33rd round.

"Our goal coming into this year's draft was to select the most athletic ballplayers and pitchers with good, strong arms, and we feel we accomplished that," Nickels said.

Around the horn

Bill Ripken's recent hitting prowess has been much talked about, but his fielding is impressive, too. Ripken, a natural second baseman, has fielded third while Surhoff has been out, and he's looked to his big brother, Cal, for advice. "I look at Cal more than I talk to him," Bill said. "He's got a pretty good idea about where to play everybody. When I'm at third base, every time a hitter comes up, I look to see where Cal is, and then I look again in the middle of the count. I've developed sort of a comfort zone by looking at Cal for every hitter and position myself according to that." . . . Tigers outfielder Curtis Pride, who grew up in Silver Spring and is 95 percent deaf, was honored in pre-game ceremony last night. The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf named him its 1996 Role Model of the Year. . . . Recently signed right-handed reliever Todd Frohwirth will report to Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, and be available to pitch Monday.

Pub Date: 6/07/96

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