O's didn't have nose for Ripken's news Unbelieving teammates doubted first reports

Orioles Notebook

July 12, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Alan Mills was driving to Philadelphia with a friend to see the All-Star Game on Tuesday, and after stopping for gas he climbed back into the car. "Hey, Cal Ripken broke his nose," his friend told Mills.

Mills said yesterday, "I was like, 'Get out of here. You can't [fool] me with that. Yeah, right. It's Cal Ripken.' "

War of the Worlds, martians invading. Cal Ripken injured. Had to be a hoax.

But the radio announcers repeated the news again and again, and Mills finally was convinced. "I mean, it's Cal Ripken," Mills said.

Bobby Bonilla learned the news while watching CNN. "His nose was one thing," Bonilla said. "If it had been his arm or something else, I wouldn't have believed it."

Everybody knows about the Broken Nose seen 'round the world, and Ripken is amused by the attention his busted proboscis has generated. "I don't know if it would have been that big an issue if not for The Streak," said Ripken, who played in consecutive game No. 2,240 last night.

Ripken had his nose checked and everything is OK, he said yesterday. The nasal passage seems to be clear, he breathes without trouble. "Functionally, that's the only thing they [checked]," Ripken said. "How it looks is secondary."

Ripken escaped without a black eye or any apparent bruising. "Genetically I'm a pretty good healer," Ripken said. "I think I got that from my dad. . . . I haven't been someone who shows a lot of bruising. I don't know why. This kind of proves it, I guess."

Ripken was asked if he thought Chicago closer Roberto Hernandez, who hit Ripken in the nose when he slipped during a photo session, would be booed when the White Sox come to Baltimore. "Why should he?" Ripken asked, rhetorically, before recalling the time he accidentally injured Tim Hulett with a throw. "It was an accident. . . . There's no way you can explain it."

Huson on way out?

Utility man Jeff Huson should know his exact fate today or tomorrow, but he has the strong feeling, after talking with assistant GM Kevin Malone, that it's not going to be with the Orioles.

Huson, who had only eight at-bats in more than six weeks before having arthroscopic knee surgery in May, is ready to be activated, but the Orioles apparently don't have a place for him.

According to Huson, Malone told him one of three things will happen "in the next 24 to 48 hours":

Huson, 31, could be activated by the Orioles, but Huson got the impression that probably isn't going to happen. The Orioles would have to demote outfielder Mark Smith to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Huson, thereby leaving the Orioles with too many left-handed hitters on the bench.

Huson could be traded. The Orioles are trying to make a deal with Montreal, and Huson asked Malone to check with the Colorado Rockies.

Huson could be placed on irrevocable waivers. If he clears, he would become a free agent.

"I'm ready to play," Huson said.

Injury update

The Orioles go into the second half of the season relatively healthy, with just a few nagging injuries. Roberto Alomar said his sprained left ring finger is improving -- "It feels stiff, [but] it's much better," he said.

Pitcher Arthur Rhodes had a shot of cortisone in the top of his left shoulder Sunday, the day before the All-Star break, to treat some stiffness. But Rhodes, critical in any series against the predominantly left-handed-hitting New York Yankees, said yesterday that he felt fine; Johnson said Rhodes is available for regular duty.

Around the horn

Wade Boggs went 0-for-4 and is 6-for-32 (.188) lifetime against Mike Mussina. . . . Orioles pitchers Jimmy Haynes and Rick Krivda will be signing autographs at the Babe Ruth Museum today from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Autographs are free with admission to the museum. . . . Former Oriole Larry Sheets will sign autographs tonight in Salisbury before the Delmarva Shorebirds' game against the Fayetteville (N.C.) Generals.

Hits and misses

On the field: Yankees designated hitter Darryl Strawberry received his usual barrage of jeers when he was introduced before his first at-bat, in the second inning. Strawberry, who went 0-for-4 in his debut Sunday, was 0-for-3 with a walk last night.

In the dugout: Pitcher Kent Mercker and Manny Alexander have gone 23 days since last appearing in a game. Mercker and Alexander both started against Texas on June 18. Alexander continues to wait for Cal Ripken to step aside as the everyday shortstop -- good luck there -- and Mercker is attempting to strengthen his shoulder and improve his velocity. Mercker threw in the bullpen yesterday and said his mechanics were better than they have been all year.

In the clubhouse: Davey Johnson was asked if being liked was important for a manager. "I don't know if anyone has the right to dislike me, other than Manny Alexander, because he never plays," the Orioles manager said. Other than that, I'm trying to give opportunity to everybody to succeed, and express their talent."

Pub Date: 7/12/96

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