Cone not ready to join rotation Yankees' ace wants to throw on side again


September 13, 1997|By Peter Schmuck and Roch Kubatko | Peter Schmuck and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

New York Yankees right-hander David Cone tested his sore shoulder in the bullpen before last night's game and decided that he is not ready to return to the Yankees' starting rotation just yet.

Cone threw three innings in a simulated game and reported no soreness, but he was not entirely satisfied. He said afterward that he would like to pitch at least once more on the side before returning to action.

"We've got a little more time," Cone said. "I'd like one more good test like this. Today went well. We'll try it again and see where we are."

The timing of Cone's return could have major postseason implications for both the Yankees and the Orioles. If he rejoins the rotation in the next 10 days and gets a couple of chances to tune up for the playoffs, the Yankees will be in much better position to win the Divisional Series and advance to the American League Championship Series, where they could face the Orioles for the second year in a row.

Manager Joe Torre said yesterday that even if Cone does not return in time to make another regular-season start, he still may be included on the Yankees' postseason roster.

"Let's put it this way," he said. "If I was ever going to put a pitcher on the postseason roster without starting him in the regular season, it would be David. I would take my chances with five innings of David Cone."

Doubleheader starters set

The Orioles rotation for the two day-night doubleheaders against Cleveland next week will include Esteban Yan, who is pitching for Triple-A Rochester, and recent call-up Nerio Rodriguez.

Yan, who had a brief stay here last month before returning to the minors, will join left-hander Rick Krivda as Monday's starters. Rodriguez, who has made two appearances since being summoned from Rochester on Sept. 4, will team with left-hander Jimmy Key on Tuesday.

"Unless [Curt] Schilling clears waivers," manager Davey Johnson said jokingly.

"I've got a couple guys going who I haven't seen pitch a whole lot for us, and I'm sure Cleveland does, too."

Yan made one start, on Aug. 19, before going back to Rochester a week later when Roberto Alomar came off the disabled list. He lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up 11 hits and eight runs and walking three in a 9-2 loss to Kansas City. Rodriguez, who will be making his second major-league start, has a 7.50 ERA in six innings.

Working out the kinks

Shawn Boskie continues to pitch despite some swelling in his right elbow that causes him to seek treatment before games.

"It's just something I've got to deal with," said Boskie, who went on the disabled list Aug. 16 with tendinitis, and was activated Sept. 1. "Most every guy in here isn't 100 percent. You've just got to suck it up. I'm willing to do that. I don't feel bad about it. It's just an inconvenience. But I know what I have to deal with.

"I feel good when I'm out there, but I can only prove it by pitching good, and so far I've been shaky."

Last night was no different. Brought in to begin the sixth, Boskie went 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs and four hits and walking three. He's given up 12 earned runs in his last four outings and isn't likely to be included on the postseason roster.

Before last night, he hadn't been used since Sept. 5 in New York, when he relieved Key and gave up three hits and three runs in 1 1/3 innings.

"That's why I've been staying off him," Johnson said. "I think he's got to have that checked. I think something's wrong in there because the way he's thrown this year isn't the way he threw last year."

Good vibes

Other than Boskie, Johnson said he believes the Orioles are getting "right" physically after having to deal with nagging injuries for the last month.

"[Thursday], we turned the corner on a lot of things," he said. "That's why it was a good game, even though we got slaughtered [14-2 loss to the Yankees] and I'm sure nobody feels good about that. A lot of good things came out of it.

"I've got Arthur [Rhodes] available. Key looks like he's regained his form. [Scott] Kamieniecki is going to be all right. Moose [Mike Mussina] will be all right. I think Robbie is getting better. Eric [Davis] is getting better. Everybody's close to being ready."

Rosario swings away

Melvin Rosario's major-league debut ended in the blink of an eye Thursday night. And in a hasty at-bat.

Rosario, called up from Double-A Bowie on Monday, replaced catcher Chris Hoiles in the eighth inning. He led off the ninth against reliever Brian Boehringer, swung at the first pitch and popped to third. So much for savoring the moment.

Rosario, 23, playing in only his fourth game above Double-A, said was guessing fastball because Boehringer had thrown about five in a row to the previous batter. He got the pitch he was looking for, but farther off the plate than he had wanted.

"I was just so sure I wanted to hit the ball and I was a tad late on it," he said. "Next time, I'll take a different approach. I was nervous, like I guess everybody is the first time."

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