McDowell appears headed to DL Reliever's renewed pain is more bad news for O's hurting bullpen

Orioles Notebook

August 16, 1996|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Right-hander Roger McDowell is experienced renewed soreness in his shoulder following Wednesday's appearance against the Milwaukee Brewers, and likely will return to the disabled list today.

McDowell, who had been on the disabled list from July 15 through Aug. 2, had pitched three times in a four-game span, and yielded only a game-tying home run to Jeff Cirillo in a 1 1/3 -inning stint Wednesday. He woke up very sore yesterday and will be examined in the Bay area today.

The Orioles already have lost right-hander Armando Benitez and left-hander Arthur Rhodes from a bullpen that was not terribly deep to begin with. Now, it appears that McDowell -- whose heavy early-season workload led to his first DL stint -- could be lost for the season. That would be a major blow to a team that has had trouble bridging the gap between the starting pitchers and closer Randy Myers.

"McDowell and Arthur, that was my bullpen," Johnson lamented.

The Orioles apparently will recall another reliever from their minor-league system. They went outside the organization recently to claim left-hander Mike Milchin off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, but his 8.31 ERA just illustrated how hard it is to acquire a solid relief pitcher at this point in the season.

"It's tough to get guys," Johnson said. "I'm more looking within our system. Last time I looked, we had about 150 kids in our minor-league system. We haven't touched the surface. . . . If I'd use a guy with an 8.00 ERA, why wouldn't I use a rookie?"

Field needs helmet, too

The Orioles got to see firsthand yesterday why Camden Yards was built as a baseball-only stadium. The field at Oakland Coliseum was so chewed up by the first Oakland Raiders exhibition football game that Johnson expressed concern for the safety of his outfielders.

"You always have concern, no question about it," he said, "but it's not like the first time this has ever happened. Always this time of year, when you've got two sports going, that's going to be a problem."

The Oakland Athletics know that concern is far from unfounded. They weren't thrilled when the stadium renovation forced them to open their home schedule at a minor-league park in Las Vegas and they had to be angry when outfielder Jason Giambi suffered a knee injury stumbling over a divot left from the football game.

Now, the Orioles arrive with a left fielder who has a history of leg problems and a center fielder who is just coming back from a calf strain. They have been very protective of Jeffrey Hammonds, who had reconstructive knee surgery, and Johnson clearly is concerned about Brady Anderson, who missed three games with a calf strain. Both were in the lineup last night.

"Brady said he wants to go," Johnson said. "He said he wasn't going to get his appendix taken out and he didn't. He's his own doctor. A couple of times, he has gotten hurt when he was going real good, so hopefully he's not just coming back because he wants to keep his bat hot. I hope there's no problem."

It used to happen here

Cal Ripken can remember when the Orioles had the same concerns at Memorial Stadium, back when the Orioles' schedule overlapped with the Colts'.

"I remember [Mark] Belanger and [Doug] DeCinces being very concerned about that," Ripken said. "They would always make sure they checked the field."

Ripken still does that, even in parks that don't house NFL teams.

"While you're out there taking ground balls, you always check around you," Ripken said. "Some fields have depressions right beyond the infield, so you want to know that before you go back on a ball, or you could get hurt. Some infields have a lip right on the edge."

Benitez impressive again

In his first rehab stint at Double-A, Armando Benitez allowed one hit in one inning of work as the Bowie Baysox defeated the New Haven Ravens, 8-3, at Prince George's Stadium. Benitez faced three batters, forcing two groundouts, including a double play.

Benitez, who made his first rehab appearance in a rookie-level game on Tuesday, striking out six and allowing one hit in two innings, is on the 60-day DL with elbow problems.

Around the horn

Triple-A Rochester placed pitcher Will Flynt on the disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, and signed pitcher Jeff Williams. The A's optioned catcher George Williams and outfielder Allen Battle to Triple-A Edmonton and called up catcher Izzy Molina and outfielder Phil Plantier.

Pub Date: 8/16/96

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