Reboulet gets knot on elbow from pitch X-rays negative, but he'll be out a while

Orioles notebook

Erickson shows 'command' in debut

March 02, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jeff Reboulet got more out of yesterday's game than he bargained for, sporting a golf-ball-sized welt on his left elbow after being hit by a pitch from New York Mets reliever Jae Weong Seo leading off the seventh inning.

X-rays taken at the stadium were negative, but Reboulet will be out indefinitely. He started at second base yesterday and is assured of making the club as a utility infielder.

"It's not like there's a sharp pain. That's usually when there's a break," said Reboulet, who went 0-for-1 with a sacrifice bunt in the Orioles' 1-0 victory.

"I didn't like the sound of it," manager Ray Miller said before learning the results of the X-rays. "He got hit pretty hard, but he's a tough guy. He might will it away."

Reboulet spun out of the box after being struck, the bat flying from his hands. He was removed for a pinch runner and headed to the trainer's room, his anger bubbling to the surface.

"I know he wasn't trying to do it on purpose. He just had no clue," Reboulet said after showering. "It just makes me mad because it's a setback."

Seo, 20, who was born in South Korea and lives in California, is a nonroster invitee. He went 8-3 last year as a sophomore at Inha University in Inchon, Korea, leading his team to his country's collegiate championship.

He worked one inning yesterday, getting Ryan Minor to hit into a double play and retiring Charlie Greene on a grounder to short.

Erickson's start

Orioles starter Scott Erickson cruised through the first and third innings. His only trouble came in the second, when he issued a two-out walk to Todd Pratt and allowed singles to Luis Lopez and Todd Haney that loaded the bases.

Erickson, who is concentrating this spring on using his changeup more, got pitcher Bobby Jones on a grounder to third to end the inning.

"It was OK," Erickson said of his performance. "I was a little wild with my fastball and fell behind a couple guys, but the main thing is arm strength and working on mechanics."

"Scotty had great command," Miller said. "He did a great job getting out of that inning. He really showed me something. The only thing about Scotty I didn't like was when he came out, I sent him down to run [in the outfield] and I saw him jump over the fence. I went, 'Oh my God.' I guess he wanted to run behind the fence instead of in front of it."

Walk this way

Here's a good way for a pitcher not to endear himself to his manager: walk the last two hitters in the lineup with two outs and a runner on third.

Mets left-hander Brian Bohanon took it to the extreme. The two batters he lost in the fifth inning were Greene, a light-hitting catcher, and pitcher Rick Krivda, bringing a collective groan from the fans at Thomas J. White Stadium.

The walks didn't prove costly, but only because nonroster shortstop Shawn Gilbert reached to his left to stab a hard bouncer by Jeffrey Hammonds and flipped to second for the force, leaving the game scoreless.

Tony Tarasco had opened the inning with a single to right, his second hit of the spring. He moved to second on a balk and to third on Reboulet's bunt.

But Minor, starting at third base because Cal Ripken didn't make the trip, failed in one of those "little ball" situations that Miller has been preaching by grounding to third and forcing Tarasco to hold. Anything hit to the right side would have produced a run.

Mitch Simons began the ninth with an infield hit and took second on an errant throw to first by Mets closer John Franco. Danny Clyburn failed to advance him, grounding to Gilbert, but Simons came home when a grounder by Jesus Tavarez hit the lip of the infield grass and scooted by Gilbert.

Mookie's kid

Left-hander Jesse Orosco picked off the Mets' Preston Wilson to end the eighth inning, tagging the outfielder in a rundown.

Orosco said he remembers playing catch with Wilson, 23, the son of Mets first base coach Mookie Wilson, when the reliever pitched in New York.

"I told him, 'You're not getting away from me,' " said Orosco, who turns 41 in April.

Getting comfortable

Though Miller plans on playing Reboulet and Ozzie Guillen at various infield positions this spring, he prefers to keep them where they're most comfortable in the early going. That meant Guillen started at shortstop and Reboulet at second yesterday, with Mike Bordick and Roberto Alomar staying behind in Fort Lauderdale.

Miller fears having either Guillen or Reboulet making a play at third base he's not accustomed to, like backhanding a ball down the line and unleashing a strong throw, that could lead to an injury. But they'll both eventually wind up at third at some point in the spring. Guillen also will get some work at second, and Reboulet will see some innings at shortstop.

"They'll also shag some flies in the outfield," Miller said. "You've got to have as much versatility as you can."

Around the horn

Miller said catcher Lenny Webster, bothered by some soreness behind his surgically repaired left shoulder, might be held back until Thursday's game against the Mets in Fort Lauderdale. With Brady Anderson not making the trip yesterday, Miller had Hammonds lead off and play center field. Hammonds went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Jones retired all nine batters he faced, with only two balls leaving the infield. Rafael Palmeiro had the first Orioles hit, a one-out single in the fourth inning off right-hander John Hudek.

Orioles left-hander Doug Johns pitched two shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out two and stranding three. "I like his poise on the mound. He showed me a lot of class. It looks like nothing's going to bother him," Miller said. Former Oriole Joe Orsulak, in the Mets camp as a nonroster invitee, went 0-for-2. The Orioles will play the Mets five more times this spring, including a March 29 exhibition at Camden Yards.

Pub Date: 3/02/98

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