Injury may end Tarasco's season OF to seek second opinion on tendinitis in shoulder

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 19, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

There is a strong chance that Rochester Red Wings outfielder Tony Tarasco will miss the rest of the year because of tendinitis in his right shoulder, Orioles officials said yesterday.

Tarasco, who was acquired from the Montreal Expos in spring training, was examined earlier this week and will be in Los Angeles on Friday to get a second opinion by Dr. Frank Jobe.

"It's serious," assistant general manager Kevin Malone said. "We're hoping it's not season-ending, but that is a possibility. At this point we don't know the extent of it. We'll have to wait and see until after the second examination."

Tarasco started the year with Baltimore but was demoted in May when Bobby Bonilla moved from designated hitter to right field. Tarasco said in the spring that his shoulder was not 100 percent and he did not have his usual arm strength.

Malone said the Expos told the Orioles that Tarasco had some tendinitis at the time of the trade, but neither team knew it was more serious.

"It's a situation where we got him and the damage was already done," Malone said. "Montreal was unaware of it. We knew he had tendinitis. We talked about it with the Expos before the trade."

Rest for Alomar, Surhoff

Roberto Alomar's ailing right ankle kept him out of the lineup last night.

Manager Davey Johnson said he did not want to risk more serious injury by playing Alomar and he thought the second baseman could use a day off. Alomar has been struggling at the plate since getting his average above the .400 mark. He is in a 5-for-31 slide but he still leads the majors with a .380 average.

Alomar's ankle hurts more when he bats right-handed, which he would have done against Texas left-hander Darren Oliver last night.

"Roberto's been a little hobbled with his ankle," Johnson said. "Occasionally, everybody needs rest. I wanted to give him some down time, especially with the rainy weather."

Alomar said he is not real concerned about his hitting woes since the team has been winning games without his usual contribution.

"I'm not perfect," Alomar said. "Slumps happen to everybody. I'm not concerned with numbers. I'm just doing the same things as always."

B. J. Surhoff did not play last night, either.

Surhoff told Johnson he could play, but Johnson still is concerned with the third baseman's ankle. Surhoff came off the disabled list June 1.

"B. J.'s had a little nagging injury," Johnson said. "He said don't take him out, but the doctor made some comments that [B. J.] could use some days off."

Thanks, Uncle Rick

Catcher Gregg Zaun got a pick-me-up yesterday from his uncle, Rick Dempsey.

Dempsey, a former Orioles catcher who is now an advance scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Zaun had not talked this season, but Zaun was disappointed in his play of late and gave his mentor a call.

"He told me he's seen me play and he's very proud of me," Zaun said. "He said I was very respected in baseball and I was doing a good job in the role that I'm in. He lifted my spirits a lot. I feel a lot better because he's never been one to throw compliments around."

Zaun said he has been unhappy with his throwing accuracy and his difficulty handling pitchers. He's still learning the tendencies of the hitters around the league.

"I've never been in a throwing slump like this before," Zaun said. "I'm not catching the kind of ballgame I should be. It's one good throw then one bad throw. Nothing to write home about."

What, Polonia worry?

Luis Polonia has hit safely in five of his past nine games, going .361 with two doubles, a triple and a home run in that span. He had gone 11 games without an RBI prior to that. Johnson had stopped playing the left-handed hitter against right-handed pitchers in Detroit last week and Polonia was starting to worry about job security.

Polonia went 0-for-3 on Monday and did not play last night.

"I put too much pressure on myself," he said. "I felt like I had to get two hits every night to stay in the lineup. Now, if I don't play, I know there's nothing I can do about it. I'm going to be ready when Davey needs me. I've stopped worrying about it."

Miscellaneous

Jeffrey Hammonds told Johnson he would report to Rochester today after being demoted to Triple-A on Monday, but a press box attendant in Pawtucket, R.I., where the Red Wings were playing, said Hammonds was not at the ballpark. . . . Rafael Palmeiro's hitting streak ended at 15 games. He went 0-for-4. . . . The Orioles have talked internally about pursuing Kansas City Royals right-hander Mark Gubicza, but it is unlikely they would complete a trade because of the financial commitment. Gubicza, who has a 4-10 record, makes $1.6 million this year and will make $1.6 million next year. . . . Former Orioles and Rangers third baseman Craig Worthington signed with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League.

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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