ARLINGTON, Texas -- Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina hasn't exactly been babying the right index finger that forced him onto the disabled list.
Manager Ray Miller said Mussina is able to play catch by wearing a protective device on it, keeping his arm stretched out while awaiting his possible return May 2.
Mussina went on the DL Friday with a lacerated wart on his index finger. The wart broke open during his start Thursday against the Chicago White Sox, forcing him from the game after five innings, and he twice had the area frozen with liquid nitrogen before accompanying the team to Texas.
Miller said he'll know by the end of the week if the procedure worked. Mussina tried it once over the winter, and also had the wart removed by a plastic surgeon. Both times, it returned.
"Knowing Moose, I've got him penciled in here for the 2nd [against Minnesota]," Miller said. "If he doesn't get that one, he'll pitch the 8th [at Tampa Bay]."
Sidney Ponson could take Mussina's scheduled turn Tuesday in Anaheim if the right-hander isn't needed today.
Speed to burn (O's)
If there's a faster player in the American League than Rangers center fielder Tom Goodwin, the Orioles haven't seen him. Better yet, they hope they never do.
Goodwin was a blur going around the bases to score in the third inning of Friday night's 6-4 win over the Orioles.
Not only did Goodwin score from first on Mark McLemore's double to left field, he didn't even draw a throw, going in standing. He added two stolen bases, giving him a league-leading 11.
"When he hits the ball, he can fly," Miller said.
Goodwin, acquired from Kansas City last season for third baseman Dean Palmer, also raced into the gap to take away an extra-base hit from Cal Ripken, a ball that probably would have fallen in against any other team.
He is 6-for-12 with two walks and three runs scored leading off the first inning.
Goodwin's infield hit Friday originally was ruled an error when shortstop Mike Bordick made a backhanded stab in the hole, didn't realize the ball was in his glove, then failed to make a throw. It wasn't likely that Bordick had a play anyway, and the official scorer later changed it to a hit.
Another scoring reversal after Friday's game took away an error on Ripken and gave Juan Gonzalez a hit leading off the fourth.
As he has done many times since joining the Orioles three years ago, Roberto Alomar tried to beat a throw to first base Friday by diving into the bag. And as usually is the case, he was called out.
The question: Is Alomar improving his chances of being safe by going in hands first, or slowing himself down as he hits the dirt?
"The book says you've got to run through the bag because it's quicker. I don't know anybody who's proved that," Miller said.
"I think if it's a bang-bang play, you might get the call for effort."
Alomar sprained his left ring finger diving headfirst into first just before the 1996 All-Star Game, drawing the wrath of then-manager Davey Johnson. "I hate it," Johnson said at the time. "That's what happens [an injury]. You can't prove to me [diving headfirst] is faster."
Burning his bridges
Once Texas pitcher Julio Santana learned he had been designated for assignment before Friday's game, he decided not to go quietly.
"I'm not disappointed, I'm happy. I'm happy because I'm not with team that didn't want me or believe in me in the first place," he said.
"When you're going to a team that trusts in you and believes in you, you're happy. There are a lot of teams that will pay me to pitch in the big leagues. Texas isn't heaven."
Santana's numbers this year weren't much of a blessing, either. He allowed five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Santana is being moved to make room for setup man Danny Patterson, who came off the disabled list and faced five batters last night, giving up a single and striking out two.
The Rangers have another bullpen decision coming in three weeks when right-hander Xavier Hernandez leaves the DL.
Around the horn
Ripken's ninth-inning single was the 2,732nd hit of his career, tying Tony Perez for 44th place on the all-time list. Ripken has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. Texas shortstop Kevin Elster drew only 52 walks in 515 at-bats in 1996, but already has 13 this year. Will Clark, who had a two-run double in the first inning, has reached base in all 15 games. B. J. Surhoff extended his hitting streak to six games.
Pub Date: 4/19/98