Pitcher Mike Mussina had the wart on his right index finger checked by a doctor again yesterday, and manager Ray Miller still is counting on having his ace back either for his scheduled start May 2 or the following day. If that happens, Mussina would have missed only two starts after going on the disabled list April 17.
The Orioles lost Mussina after the wart cracked open April 16 while he was pitching against the Chicago White Sox, causing pain too severe to ignore and raising fears within the organization that it could lead to a more serious injury. Mussina had the area frozen twice with liquid nitrate, and the results so far have been positive.
"It looks great. I was really surprised how smooth it was compared to the way it looked four days ago," Miller said.
"They have to look at it real close and make sure they didn't miss anything. I want him 100 percent when he comes back."
Bordick: road warrior
The road was very good to shortstop Mike Bordick, who went 7-for-17 with four doubles, a homer and three RBIs in Texas and Anaheim. His average had risen 121 points, to a season-high .184, over the six-game stretch before going 0-for-3 at Camden Yards last night.
"It looks like the same approach, except there's a lot more bat speed," Miller said. "He's swinging the bat more aggressively, and when he does hit the ball it's really jumping."
Bordick wasn't the only Oriole to heat up on the road. Rafael Palmeiro hit safely in all six games on the trip, raising his batting average 86 points to .278.
"I hope everybody will leave Palmeiro alone now," Miller said. "He's been tremendous -- hitting the other way, driving in runs."
During the six-game road trip Palmeiro went 10-for-20 with nine walks and five RBIs. He extended his streak to seven games with a home run last night.
Oakland right-hander Jimmy Haynes said he won't treat today's start any differently just because it comes against his former team, in the city where he had hoped to pitch for many years.
"I don't really think about it like that," he said. "I try to go out every time and do what I've got to do, whether it's the Orioles or the Twins. I don't really look at who's out there. It's just another day on the job."
Haynes, who was traded to Oakland on June 27 for Geronimo Berroa, is 1-0 with a 5.64 ERA. He's allowed 14 earned runs and 28 hits in 22 1/3 innings.
This will be the second time Haynes has pitched against the Orioles. Last year in Oakland, he shut them out on four hits over six innings.
"I'm disappointed that I didn't get to stay with this club, but in Oakland I've got a lot better chance and more of an opportunity. That's good for me. I'm kind of glad I got traded over here because it's given me a chance to pitch in the big leagues," he said.
Haynes appeared in 26 games with the Orioles in 1996, including 11 starts, and went 3-6 with an 8.29 ERA. He began the season in the rotation, but had it end prematurely when the Orioles sent him to the instructional league in September.
Miller remembers seeing Haynes in the Arizona Fall League before last season and was amazed at how confused the right-hander seemed after getting advice from so many different sources.
"He was talking about six different points in his delivery and his knee turn and ankle turn and hand turn. I said, 'Hey Jimmy, whoa, you're talking about things I don't know about. Let's get one basic thing to worry about and we'll let that good natural ability go,' " Miller said.
Haynes was 5-4 with a 3.44 ERA at Triple-A Rochester when the Orioles sent him and pitcher Mark Seaver to Oakland. He went 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Edmonton, and 3-6 with a 4.42 ERA in 13 starts with the A's.
"He's got to develop a little bit more confidence in himself, and that comes with success," Miller said. "He's certainly got the ability to do it."
Other former Orioles in the visitors' clubhouse last night included pitcher Mike Oquist and outfielder Jack Voigt.
Oquist won't get the chance to start in this series, which might be good news for the Orioles. Though the right-hander doesn't have a decision this year, he's allowed only eight earned runs in four starts covering 25 1/3 innings.
After going 4-6 with a 5.02 ERA last season, Oquist was penciled in as the A's fifth starter in spring training. He moved up to the fourth spot after an injury to Brad Rigby, and has shown more consistency than during his tenure with the Orioles, which lasted parts of three seasons.
Oquist said the pressure in Oakland is nothing like he faced in Baltimore. "It's tough under the stress [in Baltimore]. You're expected to win," he said.
Voigt is 1-for-14 (.071) this season.
Pub Date: 4/25/98