Rhodes may be able to return before end of season Shoulder injury not as serious as thought

Orioles Notebook

August 08, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

MILWAUKEE -- The Orioles got some good news yesterday: Arthur Rhodes' shoulder problems aren't as severe as previously thought, and he could be back before the end of the season.

Rhodes has a ligament sprain in an acromio clavicular joint, and the swelling has prevented him from throwing properly. But he doesn't have a tear there, or a bone spur, as the Orioles feared. Rhodes will rest completely for the next three weeks, and if he rehabilitates at the usual rate, he could be back by the second week of September.

"It's nothing career-threatening," said Orioles trainer Richie Bancells.

Bancells also said Rhodes' current injury is in no way related to the shoulder problems that led to surgery last year.

Camden considerations

Mike Mussina said after beating Milwaukee on Tuesday night that the Orioles may be benefiting from playing away from Camden Yards, and mentioned in particular the small dimensions of the park. He is hardly the first pitcher to say how difficult it is to pitch at Oriole Park.

Orioles manager Davey Johnson doesn't embrace the theory that pitchers may be spooked while throwing at Camden Yards in the way pitchers seem affected by Coors Field in Denver, a hitters' haven. But Johnson does say the Orioles have pitched differently at home than they do on the road.

"In any ballpark -- but especially in a smaller ballpark -- you have to pitch ahead in the count," Johnson said. "There've been a lot of times where we haven't gone after the hitter. I haven't done a study, but I would venture to say our walks and our pitch counts are higher at Camden Yards.

"Sometimes I think we try to make the perfect pitch, and we end up being behind in the count."

Johnson says now, after four months of watching games at Camden Yards, that the most successful pitchers at Oriole Park are pitchers who throw good fastballs and sliders. In so many words, strikeout pitchers.

Bonilla in a groove

Since the trade deadline passed, Bobby Bonilla has hit in six of seven games, and has 10 hits in his past 23 at-bats, with three homers and seven RBIs. "I think I've been able to settle down, now that I've got the DH thing behind me and trade deadline," Bonilla said, "and I know I'm going to be here the rest of the year."

Rochester call-up

Nerio Rodriguez, a right-hander pitching for Single-A Frederick who is among the prospects the Orioles may call up in September, is being promoted to pitch for Triple-A Rochester on Sunday. He takes the place of right-hander Brian Sackinsky, has been placed on the disabled list with another arm injury -- this to his shoulder. Sackinsky went down with an elbow injury earlier this year.

Smith slow on mend

Outfielder Mark Smith, on the 15-day disabled list with a bone bruise, flew back to Baltimore to have his leg checked again because he isn't recovering as quickly as expected, but no additional injury was discovered in the re-examination. Smith is at least 10 days away from being activated.

Around the horn

The Orioles are getting closer to acquiring a reliever who will join their bullpen, but assistant general manager Kevin Malone won't say who it is. . . . Roberto Alomar went into last night's contest having gone eight games since his last strikeout. He struck out last night. . . . Matt Snyder, pitching for Single-A High Desert, is having a terrific year with 72 strikeouts in 61 innings. But Snyder probably isn't a candidate for a September promotion, because the Orioles won't have to protect him until after next season. . . . The Orioles probably aren't going to be able to sign their seventh-round pick, high school pitcher Ed Schoening, who appears to be headed to the University of Auburn. . . . Mike Devereaux was a late-inning replacement in the last five games before last night, which is like money in the bank for him. He made his 89th appearance Tuesday night, and when he played in his 90th game last night, he got a $50,000 bonus. He will get a $75,000 bonus for his 110th game. . . . Cal Ripken has only three strikeouts in his past 11 games. . . . Rafael Palmeiro's RBI Tuesday night broke a streak of six straight games without an RBI. . . . Eddie Murray's three RBIs Tuesday broke a streak of nine straight games without an RBI. . . . The Oriolelanders, a fall team for high school players under the direction of Orioles scout Jim Gilbert, will hold tryouts Aug. 24-25 at 10 a.m. at the Taneytown Sports Complex.

Pub Date: 8/08/96

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