Rhodes, McDowell news no relief to Johnson Pitchers could miss return date from DL

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

July 24, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Buster Olney contributed to this article.

Manager Davey Johnson said he does not expect relievers Arthur Rhodes and Roger McDowell to be ready to come off the disabled list as scheduled on Tuesday.

Rhodes is suffering from soreness in the top of his left shoulder and has not pitched in 11 days. He was scheduled to throw on the Rhodes side yesterday but the Orioles decided to rest him for another day.

McDowell has soreness in the back of his right shoulder and threw off a mound for the first time on Monday. McDowell's last appearance was July 11 against the New York Yankees.

"There's some concern that both of them probably won't come off the disabled list when they're [scheduled] to come off," Johnson said. "I spoke to the team doctor and he said we shouldn't count on either one of them for Tuesday, so . . ."

So, Johnson is left with an undermanned bullpen. Johnson said he is not sure when the relievers will be ready to return, and the team will evaluate their status after they throw more.

Jimmy Haynes has struggled since moving back into the rotation to replace Kent Mercker, who was traded to Cleveland for Eddie Murray. Armando Benitez is on the 60-day disabled list.

Rochester pitcher Garrett Stephenson is a candidate to replace Haynes in the rotation. Stephenson, a Maryland native, is 5-5 with a 4.50 ERA for the Triple-A Red Wings, but is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his past three starts, all complete games.

Alomar back at second base

Roberto Alomar started at second base last night, going 2-for-3 with an RBI, and said he's ready to return to full-time duty.

Alomar sprained his left ring finger before the All-Star break and has been used as a pinch hitter lately. He started one of the past eight games before last night, batting cleanup as a designated hitter Sunday in Boston.

Alomar said with the Orioles chasing a postseason spot and the reduced swelling of his finger, he's ready to give second base another try. Alomar said he will return to switch-hitting as well. He had been batting only left-handed since injuring his finger.

"I hope I'm all right," Alomar said. "We'll see what happens after I get out there for a couple of games. I'm going to do it all now. I'm here to play. I have to play and see what happens."

Smith's foot painful

The news was not as good for outfielder Mark Smith, who fouled a ball off his left shin Monday night and left the game with a bone bruise. After the game, Smith said he believed he could return in a few days.

But Johnson said Smith went back to the doctors yesterday. He was not available to play last night and Johnson said he does not expect him to play tonight, either.

Mercker a happy Indian

Mercker seems happy to be out of Baltimore. He is scheduled to start tomorrow at Triple-A, but the left-hander told the Akron Beacon-Journal he's glad to be with the Indians in any capacity.

"It was the black and orange," Mercker said. "Those must be my bad-luck colors. I even had my license plates stolen. The whole year has been bad. It's just been weird. The game is not won on paper, but you look at that club and it's a great team. But they couldn't put it together and I really don't know why."

Bonilla still on block

The Florida Marlins may try to deal for Bobby Bonilla if they play well leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, according to sources.

The Marlins are 6 1/2 games behind the Montreal Expos in the race for the National League wild card. Marlins general manager Dave Dombrowski is looking for a left-handed hitter, possibly to replace Greg Colbrunn.

Talks between the Orioles and Padres are active. However, one NL source said the Padres, who are looking for a slugger, are considering other alternatives, including Pittsburgh's Orlando Merced and Milwaukee's Greg Vaughn.

Around the horn

Bill Ripken received an epidural Monday to relieve pain in his lower back and said he feels "much better" . . . Ryan Minor, the Orioles' 33rd-round pick in the draft, has finished his rookie camp with the Philadelphia 76ers and he is expected to report to rookie-level Sarasota this week. . . . Shortstop Augie Ojeda, the Orioles' 13th-round pick, is playing with the U.S. Olympic team, and the Orioles hope to continue negotiations with him after the Games.

Pub Date: 7/24/96

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