Snyder laughs off 'bull's eye' hit to head Line drive off forehead only cuts, bruises pitcher

Orioles Notebook

March 14, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Every visit to Dodgertown brings concerns from Orioles manager Ray Miller, who's not a big fan of the cozy dimensions at Holman Stadium -- especially the close proximity of the open dugouts to home plate.

As it turned out yesterday, the bench was a safer place than the outfield.

Pitcher Matt Snyder was struck in the middle of the forehead by a liner from Todd Hollandsworth as Los Angeles took batting practice before yesterday's game. Snyder, who was playing catch in right field, remained on his feet. He walked to the clubhouse to receive treatment, joking about the incident on his way to the trainer's room.

The only evidence of the accident was a slight abrasion and some redness on his forehead, which he iced two times to keep the swelling down.

"There couldn't have been a better bull's eye there," said Snyder, who has thrown two hitless innings since being brought to camp because of injuries.

"It knocked me a little silly. I heard 'heads up,' so at the last second I turned. It's a miracle, especially coming on Friday the 13th."

Catch as catch can

Miller was left scrambling for healthy catchers yesterday after leaving Jim Foster behind to get his right elbow examined. Having already decided to give regulars Chris Hoiles and Lenny Webster a breather, Miller had to make do with Melvin Rosario and Charlie Greene.

Rosario started yesterday and played seven innings in the Dodgers' 4-0 victory. He singled twice and stole a base, but his throwing error in the seventh scored the Dodgers' second run.

Foster, who drove in 110 runs at three levels in the minor leagues last season, has been used only at first base and as a pinch hitter because of tenderness in his elbow. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs in Thursday's 8-3 win over St. Louis in Jupiter, raising his average to .308 (4-for-13).

"I've been watching him throw, and I watched him take infield [Thursday] and it looked like he was really laboring," Miller said.

"I don't like coming here with only two catchers."

Miller joked that his alternatives were infielder Jeff Reboulet and bullpen catcher Sam Snider.

"Reboulet said, 'OK' and Sammy turned white," Miller said.

Miller said that Webster still is favoring his surgically repaired left shoulder, which is putting more of a strain on the catcher's right elbow and affects his mechanics. As a result, his throwing has been more erratic this spring.

"He'll be fine," Miller said. "They've been doing a lot of quick-release work and it doesn't look too good right now, but when you get toward the end of spring training and the focus gets a little bit better and the pitchers are concentrating a little bit more, I think you'll probably see an improvement."

Miller expects Webster to be healthy by Opening Day. "He's a tough kid."

Charlton dinked to death

Left-hander Norm Charlton gave up a run on three hits in the ninth inning, but impressed Miller by stranding runners on second and third. None of the balls off Charlton had much steam.

"They didn't hit one that couldn't have been caught bare-handed," he said. "They hit six balls that combined didn't go 400 feet. There's not a whole lot you can do about that."

Charlton has allowed four earned runs in six innings.

Surhoff gets another day

Outfielder B. J. Surhoff, who hasn't played since the Feb. 28 exhibition opener, is expected to be in the lineup for today's game against Montreal. Surhoff is recovering from ligament damage to the ring finger of his right hand.

Miller said Surhoff originally had requested yesterday off to be with his family, but was willing to change his plans and play against the Dodgers. Miller elected to give him the extra time.

"If B. J. gets started [today], he'll have at least 35 at-bats. I think guys are averaging 35-40," Miller said.

When rooster crows

If he had a vote, Miller would like for the Orioles to play more night games next spring, especially after a long bus ride the previous day. And especially if the club still is in Fort Lauderdale, far removed from the competition.

"Guys can sleep in a little later," Miller said, "plus, the later in spring, the more night games you should play because you get your biological clock working. The way it is now, on Opening Day fTC my whole club's going to be up at 6: 15 in the morning, along with me."

The Orioles have two night exhibition games, both against the Florida Marlins: Monday in Fort Lauderdale (7: 05 p.m.) and March 25 in Viera (6: 05 p.m.).

Around the horn

Miller said he wants to have his final cuts made by the last week of spring training, though he'll take four extra players north for the March 29 exhibition game at Camden Yards. Cal Ripken was robbed of an RBI in the sixth inning when right fielder Raul Mondesi made a diving catch of a sinking liner and threw to second to double up Reboulet, keeping the Dodgers ahead, 1-0. Miller allowed Scott Kamieniecki to bat with two on in the fifth inning, even though the pitcher wasn't coming out for the bottom of the inning, because he didn't want to use up a position player and be caught short later. Kamieniecki struck out. First baseman Calvin Pickering may be summoned again to play in the March 23 game against Minnesota at Fort Myers. Pickering started two games there earlier this week, getting hits off 20-game winner Brad Radke and Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez. Doug Drabek will start for the Orioles today, opposing Montreal right-hander Marc Valdes.

Pub Date: 3/14/98

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