Ripken is armed and ready for Indians For the first time this season, his arm feels strong, healthy

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

September 30, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora and Buster Olney | Jason LaCanfora and Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

TORONTO -- Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken said that only recently has his throwing arm felt as good as it normally does.

Ripken said he believes his arm trouble this year resulted from the lockout-shortened 1995 spring training, when he had to break from his normal routine to get his arm in playing shape.

Ripken started, played 2 1/2 innings, singled and left the game yesterday to rest like many of the other regulars. His consecutive-games streak stands at 2,316.

"I don't think I ever told anyone this, but the year before, when we had an accelerated spring training because of the labor problems, I was forced to get my arm ready faster," Ripken said. "You're always pretty much in shape and you always throw, but you can't get to the level you need to get to out here unless you play games, unless you have a runner running down the line.

"My arm responded terrificly last year, and it was the best. I had my arm early and I had my arm all year long [in 1995]. This year, I tried to use the same philosophy. I thought, well, I can push it a little bit harder and get it ready.

"I don't know what went wrong, but this year I wasn't able to get it up and running. I kind of had to favor it for a while and it just seems like I'm only starting to get my strength in my arm. In the last month I've started to feel better.

"I think it's a mistake I'll never do again, because I never had that problem before."

Mills may not be ready

Reliever Alan Mills' recovery from a groin injury is not progressing as well as the Orioles would like, but Arthur Rhodes appears to be ready to return.

Manager Davey Johnson wanted to get Mills some work this weekend, and he threw in the bullpen Saturday. Mills pitched to one batter and got a strikeout yesterday but did not appear to be at full strength.

"The one thing I'm a little concerned about is Mills," Johnson said. "He felt fine throwing in the bullpen [Saturday]. You could tell he wasn't pushing off right. That worries me."

Rhodes had been a long shot to appear again this year, but yesterday he pitched for the first time since Aug. 5, retiring two batters. He spent most of the second half on the disabled list with inflammation in the top of his pitching shoulder.

"The good news today is Arthur," Johnson said. "He threw the ball exceptionally well. He looked like the old Arthur. Arthur passed the test, but I'd have to give Mills a C-."

Subs have plenty in reserve

The ramifications of the Orioles' wild-card clinching were clear to Tony Tarasco and some of his other little-used teammates: They were going to play in the final game of the regular season.

In the middle of the Orioles' wild-card celebration on Saturday, Tarasco began jumping up and down, eliciting laughter from other reserves during the stretch drive, such as Jeffrey Hammonds, Manny Alexander, Cesar Devarez and Brent Bowers.

"All right F-Troop, Double-A team, we've gotta be ready for [yesterday]," Tarasco yelled. "We're gonna get in. We're gonna play. They're gonna let us play."

Tarasco got a single and a steal in his first start since May.

O's, Olympian to meet

U.S. Olympic first baseman Travis Lee, who became a free agent after the Minnesota Twins failed to tender him a contract, will meet with Orioles officials tomorrow. According to Lee's agent, Jeffrey Moorad, 21 teams have expressed interest in Lee.

Corbin enjoys the moment

Perhaps no player appreciated the post wild-card bliss more than reliever Archie Corbin, who didn't think he'd play baseball in the United States this year.

The Orioles signed Corbin on a lark when he was released by the Reynoso Broncos of the Mexican League in May. Corbin showed promise in Triple-A, and when the Orioles bullpen became depleted he was promoted.

Corbin became a valuable commodity down the stretch and has been effective against right-handers. He was 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 17 games.

"Not in a million years did I think I'd ever be here," he said.

5 not on playoff roster

The Orioles said Hammonds, Bowers, Nerio Rodriguez and Eugene Kingsale will not be on the playoff roster. Tarasco said he is not on the roster, and pitcher Rick Krivda is ineligible. The Orioles will announce the other players left off the roster today.

Pub Date: 9/30/96

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