Orioles reliever Arthur Rhodes, who retired all seven batters he faced, left yesterday's game with mild tightness in his left forearm. His status will be evaluated today.
Rhodes was warming in the ninth when he signaled for trainer Richie Bancells. He had thrown 29 pitches, including 23 for strikes, and had four strikeouts.
Bancells spoke with Rhodes, who flexed his left elbow. Manager Davey Johnson joined the conference, then signaled for reliever Terry Mathews, a move that proved huge when Mathews gave up back-to-back homers in the 4-2 loss.
"When I was warming up, I was feeling it a little bit and I didn't want to stay out there and hurt myself," Rhodes said. "There's no concern."
Seattle manager Lou Piniella suspected that the Orioles may have been stalling because Mariners starter Jeff Fassero had shut out the Orioles on three hits and was going to pitch the ninth. Piniella yelled over to Johnson, who denied that the situation with Rhodes was a ploy.
"I wish I was that smart," Johnson said.
Fassero walked Geronimo Berroa leading off the ninth and was removed from the game.
Malone: We want Myers back
Assistant general manager Kevin Malone said yesterday that he is confident the Orioles can re-sign Randy Myers if the soon-to-be free-agent closer wants to remain in Baltimore.
"We know right now we want him back," Malone said. "If he wants to come back -- and I know we want him back -- I think we'll work it out. It's a matter of finding a way to make it work."
That probably won't be easy. Myers, who led the major leagues with 45 saves, figures to be the best reliever on the market this year, so he'll likely command a three-year deal worth more than $15 million. He also figures to want assurance that he'll be the full-time closer, while the Orioles are grooming Armando Benitez in that role.
Johnson confirmed -- again -- that Mike Mussina would return on three days' rest to pitch Game 4 of the Division Series today instead of inserting Scott Kamieniecki into the spot.
What Johnson didn't say was that Kamieniecki received at least passing consideration after the team took a 2-0 lead in Seattle. In two 1997 appearances against the Mariners, Kamieniecki allowed two earned runs in 14 innings.
Kamieniecki's role so far in the Division Series has been limited to warming during Game 2.
Mussina will start on only three days' rest for the first time this season. He has typically groused at the arrangement. However, he was pulled from Wednesday's Game 1 after only 93 pitches.
Mussina was 1-2 with a 5.46 ERA when he started four times on three days' rest last season.
Staying with Mussina, 9-1 lifetime against the Mariners, also enables Scott Erickson to start a possible Game 5. Erickson, the Game 2 winning pitcher, is 3-0 vs. the Mariners this season.
Moyer reports improvement
Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer, who left Game 2 with a sore elbow, played catch for five minutes yesterday and reported less inflammation in the area, but would have had to show dramatic improvement to re-enter the picture for the series.
"We're not looking at that prospect," Piniella said.
Moyer, however, was relieved to learn that the problem was not serious. He said yesterday that the inflammation apparently is in the forearm flexor, rather than a problem with the joint or ligaments.
"I was pleased it wasn't the elbow," he said. "It looks like it's a muscular thing."
That means he likely will require only rest and rehabilitation to relieve the inflammation, and should be 100 percent when spring training opens in February.
Support for Cloude
With Moyer out of the picture, Piniella seems content to pitch rookie Ken Cloude, a McDonogh grad from Dundalk, in Game 5 should the Mariners win today.
Said Piniella: "If we get fortunate and win tomorrow, we have the kid from Baltimore going against the team he idolized growing up. You can't get a much better story than that."
Weary Davis sits one out
Outfielder Eric Davis wasn't in the lineup after starting the first two games, saying he still felt a little tired from Friday's chemotherapy treatment. Davis told Johnson he was available, if needed.
"He said, 'If you want me to start, I'll start.' I said, 'No, hopefully we can win today and you'll get a couple of days off,' " Johnson said.
During batting practice, Davis said he was feeling stronger and hoped he would get the chance to play. He also didn't report any residual effects from the strained left quadriceps muscle that had forced him out of Game 2.
Davis slipped coming out of the batter's box on a fourth-inning grounder in Seattle and said the muscle tightened up.
"It's fine now. It isn't restricting me from doing anything," he said.
Piniella shook up his lineup. He moved Rich Amaral into the leadoff spot, dropped Joey Cora to ninth and benched left-handed-hitting first baseman Paul Sorrento.
"He has hit the ball well against [Jimmy] Key," Piniella said before the game of Amaral, who had two hits and scored both runs off Key.