Anderson to take one more swing at convincing Johnson Batting practice today to decide if center fielder will be put on disabled list

Orioles notebook

March 31, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

Center fielder Brady Anderson will get one more chance to convince manager Davey Johnson that he is healthy enough to start the season, but club officials still seem intent on putting him on the disabled list.

Anderson will take batting practice during today's final spring workout, then the club will make the necessary transactions to cut down to the regular-season roster limit of 25.

"He's in pain," Johnson said. "I don't see how he can play and I would prefer not to take a chance, but he's a very competitive guy and he wants to be in there."

The Orioles also are expected to place outfielder Pete Incaviglia on the DL with a hamstring strain. That announcement could have been made yesterday, but Johnson delayed all decisions until today.

"I just want to make them together," he said.

Deadline today?

If general manager Pat Gillick and potential fall free agents Cal Ripken and Mike Mussina stick to their arbitrary negotiating deadlines, today could be the last day to sign them to contract extensions before the end of the season.

Mussina's deal has hung up over the amount of money that would be deferred without interest in a three-year, $21 million extension.

Ripken also is close, apparently within a few incentive clauses of completing a two-year extension with an option on a third season.

Though Gillick said recently that the club's Opening Day deadline was not chiseled in stone, Mussina said this weekend that he has no desire to continue negotiations after today and feels confident he can put the situation out of his mind and have a great season.

"It's not part of baseball," he said. "It's not part of what I do on the field, so it's something I can put aside."

Weighty issue

First baseman Rafael Palmeiro did not gain 15 pounds over the winter, despite reports earlier this spring to the contrary. Palmeiro worked hard to improve his upper body strength, but came into camp only slightly above his playing weight.

The discrepancy was based on last year's roster, which had him listed at 190 pounds. Palmeiro said he has not played at that weight in years, and played last year at about 200 to 205 pounds.

"I saw somewhere where they said there was concern about my swing," said Palmeiro, who hit a long home run in yesterday's game to tie the score 1-1 in the bottom of the first. "That's crazy. I am stronger in the upper body, but I just had the best spring I ever had. I feel great."

Erickson OK

Right-hander Scott Erickson, who suffered a slight groin strain during his four-inning performance against Montreal in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, said he was back to his normal routine yesterday.

"I ran, I lifted and I did my squats," Erickson said. "I think it's all right."

That's good news for the Orioles' pitching staff, which will go into the season with six healthy starters -- including newcomer Scott Kamieniecki, who pitched well enough to make the rotation this spring, but will stand in reserve behind right-hander Shawn Boskie.

Boskie pitched four innings yesterday, yielding one run on two hits.

Taking wing

The Cardinals finished the exhibition season with 21 wins, tying the club record set in 1956.

Their 21-11 spring mark was the second-best in the majors behind only the Florida Marlins.

First impression

Rule 5 draftee Mike Johnson got his first chance to pitch at Oriole Park late in yesterday's game and struggled, giving up three runs on four hits over two innings of relief, but he apparently has won a place on the 25-man roster.

Johnson, who pitched to a 1.65 ERA in Florida, is one of the reasons why manager Davey Johnson feels compelled to go with an enlarged pitching staff during the early weeks of the regular season. If the club wants to send him out, he must be offered back to the Toronto Blue Jays and then sent through waivers.

He got his first look at Camden Yards on Saturday night, after the club returned from Florida. He knows that it is not considered a pitchers park -- and he found out first-hand yesterday -- but he wasn't complaining.

"I'll take it," he said before the game. "[Pitching coach] Ray Miller took me out on the field last night, and I was just kind of numb. It's hard to believe I'm here."

Parking sellout

Fans planning on attending Opening Day tomorrow should be prepared to park in the downtown lots or take the light rail to the ballpark.

The Orioles announced that there is only enough on-site parking for fans with pre-paid (hang-tag) parking passes.

Pub Date: 3/31/97

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