Injury makes Alomar falling star Sprained finger puts Tuesday start in doubt

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

Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar is likely to miss the All-Star Game with a sprained left ring finger he suffered in yesterday's 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.

Manager Davey Johnson said Alomar is doubtful for tonight's game and the All-Star Game on Tuesday as well. Johnson hopes Alomar, who was voted by fans to start in the All-Star Game, could return to action after the three-day break. The Orioles begin a four-game series with the first-place New York Yankees Thursday at Camden Yards.

He sprained the ring finger on his left hand while diving headfirst into first after a squibber to the right of the mound in the first inning. He was replaced by Bill Ripken.

X-rays on Alomar's finger were negative. However, the injury is on his catching hand and could be easy to aggravate.

"I've seen these things linger and I've seen them heal quickly," Johnson said.

The finger initially dislocated slightly after hitting the base, but Alomar said he quickly pulled it back into place.

Alomar has played in every All-Star Game in the 1990s and said he loves the thrill of being among the best in the game. But he's also hesitant to risk further injury in a game with no bearing on the standings. One grounder in Philadelphia could be the difference between sitting out a few days or a few weeks.

That scenario, losing the league's third-best hitter (.352 average) for an extended period of time, might hinder the Orioles' chase of the Yankees.

"I hope I can [play in the All-Star Game]," Alomar said. "If it can't happen, it can't happen. It's an honor going to the All-Star Game, but I can't go out there if I can't play."

Alomar said injuries like this should be expected because of the way he plays. Which, by the way, he has no intention of changing.

"A lot of people ask me that," Alomar said. "But why would you want to change something I've been doing for a lot of years? It's something I'm not going to change. . . . A lot of people are afraid to do things on the field. I'm not afraid. That's the way I play. It might happen again."

Johnson hopes not.

Johnson said he saw Keith Miller, once a prospect with the New York Mets, nearly end his career by diving headfirst. Johnson said when he was playing he always preferred to go into a bag with his cleats up, since he had protection on his feet and not on his hands and neck.

Suffice to say, Johnson does not condone diving headfirst.

"I hate it," Johnson said. "I talked to Robbie about it. That's what happens. . . . You can't prove to me [diving headfirst] is faster than sliding."

Alomar leads the Orioles in average, hits (115), doubles (23) and runs scored (70). He's fourth on the team with 53 RBIs and has missed just one game thus far.

Pub Date: 7/07/96

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