Sore finger to force Alomar into DH role Fielding shots Thursday aggravated the injury

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

July 13, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Roberto Alomar will be getting some rest for his sore finger.

Orioles manager Davey Johnson said the second baseman will likely be used as a designated hitter against the New York Yankees the next two days to protect the sore finger on Alomar's fielding hand.

Alomar sprained his left ring finger last week and took a few days off before playing in the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Alomar said his finger felt better than expected after the All-Star Game, but he was in serious pain after Thursday's opener of the Yankees series.

Alomar had to field a few hard grounders Thursday night and aggravated the injury. Alomar, a switch-hitter, said his finger was "killing" him after fielding a shot off Darryl Strawberry's bat. His knuckle swelled and Alomar said that made it difficult for him to grip the bat as well.

"We may have to do something with him," Johnson said. "We may have to DH him. I think catching the ball hurt him."

Johnson said Alomar would likely start at DH against Yankees lefties Kenny Rogers and Andy Pettitte today and tomorrow.

Falkenborg passes through

Pitcher Brian Falkenborg, the Orioles' top pick in the June draft, was in Baltimore yesterday, a brief stopover before he goes on to Rookie-level Sarasota to begin his first stint in the minors.

The second-round pick signed with the team last week for a $375,000 signing bonus. Falkenborg, 6 feet 6, 180 pounds, said he'll get $135,000 of the bonus this year and the rest next season.

The signing ended a month of long negotiations.

"The deal was just too good to pass up," said Falkenborg, who also was considering a scholarship offer from Oklahoma State. "It kind of picked up the last two days [of negotiations]. A lot of things happened. We started getting closer and closer. The right offer came along."

Falkenborg signed the deal in Nevada during a baseball tournament that his team won. The 18-year-old said his fastball tops out at 92 mph and he also throws a slider and a changeup.

"I'm anxious to start playing baseball again," Falkenborg said. "I feel like I've got a few more mph left in my arm. I gained 5 mph on my fastball last year. I don't see why I can't do it again."

Bye-bye Benito?

There appear few doubts in Philadelphia that Mike Lieberthal is ready to catch full time, freeing Benito Santiago for a possible trade, perhaps to the Orioles.

Phillies manager Jim Fregosi clearly believes Lieberthal is ready.

"He has worked very hard," Fregosi told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's a learning experience . . . but he's grown up. He's not a little boy anymore. He's a man."

Huson resolution sought

Johnson said he'd like for the Orioles to decide on Jeff Huson's future with the club as soon as possible.

Huson is on the disabled list after arthroscopic knee surgery and his rehabilitation status runs out Monday. The Orioles must decide if they want to keep the veteran utility man or trade him. Huson said he'd reject a Triple-A demotion.

"I like to make a decision right away," Johnson said. "If you're going to activate him, then activate him. If you're going to trade him, then trade him. He who hesitates finishes last, and I don't like to feel like a loser. Let's go."

Huson has not played since May 17 and already has finished his minor-league rehab stint. Huson said a couple of teams have expressed interest in him, but the Orioles have not completed any deals for him and Johnson said there was nothing new to report.

Around the horn

Todd Frohwirth, the submarine-throwing reliever who pitched for the Orioles from 1991 to '93, has retired. He had been with Rochester, the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate. . . . Strawberry will get nearly $400,000 for playing with the Yankees this season, according to details of his contract obtained by the Associated Press.

Pub Date: 7/13/96

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