Iced hand keeps Anderson cool Eyeing opener, he doesn't rush back into O's lineup



FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.- Brady Anderson didn't fight to be in yesterday's lineup, contrary to what manager Ray Miller had anticipated, and didn't give his usual assurances about his status for Opening Day. But the Orioles' renter fielder still is expected to start Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals.

Anderson had his left hand wrapped in ice and was receiving electrical stimulation to aid a small bone chip in the fourth metacarpal, which he suffered when hit by a throw from Florida catcher Charles Johnson during a steal in Thursday's game in Viera.

"It's weird. When I did it, I kind of knew. I didn't need to look under my glove," he said. "But it's not as bad as it could be."

Bad enough, though, that when Anderson was asked about his availability Tuesday, he hesitated before saying in a low voice, 'I'd say I'll play."

Trainer Richie Bancells said Anderson's hand is "about what I thought. It's just like what a bruise to that area would be. He's got a little bit of swelling there, which is what you would expect.

"We discussed it, and rather than pushing it by swinging the bat, throwing and all that, it's better maybe to just sit on it for a day or two, treat it and try to get it feeling as comfortable as possible before he tries that stuff. The big day to get him ready for is Tuesday, not today. A lot can happen in 48 hours to make it better."

Bancells also said there's no risk of compounding the injury by playing. "You can't damage it. I explained that to him. It's just a matter of the soreness and the grip. Probably the most fortunate thing for him is it's his top hand [on the bat]. And throwing's no problem."

Miller said he was expecting to hear from Anderson yesterday as soon as the All-Star didn't see his name on the posted lineup. "He'll Way, 'I'm all right, dude. Don't talk about it.' "

Sure enough, there was a knock on Miller's office door as he spoke to a small group of reporters before the Orioles' 4-0 loss to the New York Mets.

"Look who's here," Anderson said, smiling. "You guys have got to get out. There are more important clients."

He emerged a short time later, saying he had no problem with sitting out and trying to get the rest of the swelling down. It's questionable whether he'll try to play in today's exhibition game against the Mets at Camden Yards.

"I feel obligated to give you guys some sort of story going into Opening Day," he said. "I'm planning what to break next spring."

Anderson spent part of yesterday's game visiting the radio booth and press box while wearing a soft wrist brace. He then changed into his uniform and sat with the relievers.

Jeffrey Hammonds started in center field again and probably would get the assignment Tuesday if Anderson can't play.

Drabek to start today

Doug Drabek, moved ahead to the No. 4 spot in the rotation for the first turn, starts today against Mets right-hander Rick Reed. Drabek hadn't allowed a run in three consecutive starts until giving up two in his fourth.

When Miller was hired as pitching coach last year, he wanted to bring Drabek to Baltimore. Instead, the right-hander signed with the Chicago White Sox, delaying his reunion with Miller, who was the pitching coach in Pittsburgh in 1990 when Drabek won the Cy Young Award.

"I wanted him here so bad last year. As soon as I got the job, I tried like heck," Miller said. "I thought we had him, but there was some miscommunication and he signed with somebody else. I know what kind of personality he is. And if there ever was a great group of guys for him to be around. it's Jimmy Key and [Mike] Mussina and [Scott] Erickson."

Davis active in Fla. finale

Right fielder Eric Davis apparently is ready to start the season. He has been bothered by some lower back stiffness, but said yesterday that he was under no restrictions and then proved it with an animated performance in the club's final Florida exhibition game.

Davis singled in his first at-bat and tried to steal second on a hit-and-run play that failed only because the ball was fouled off. He struck out in his second and third at-bats to finish the Florida portion of spring training with a .360 batting average.

"I only know one way to play and that's hard," said Davis.

Around the horn

Jimmy Key picked off two runners.... Donna Shalala, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday's season opener. The national anthem will be performed by John Davidson, who is appearing at the Lyric Opera House in the musical "State Fair." ... Catcher Lenny Webster did some throwing from a short distance before the game, and will increase it today, as the Orioles check the condition of his right elbow. He was told not to throw for four days because of in flammation.... The Orioles will celebrate 44th Safety Patrol Day during today's game. The club donated 10,000 tickets to safety patrol students throughout Maryland. Maryland Law Enforcement Officers will present a plaque to four safety patrol students from Lansdowne Elementary School during a pre-game ceremony. The students witnessed a hit-and-run accident and gave a vehicle description and registration number that led to the offender's arrest.

Pub Date: 3/29/98

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