Bordick sprain could move Ripken to short Foot injury to sideline shortstop at least 3 days

Oriole Notebook

June 03, 1998|By Roch Kubatko and Bill Free | Roch Kubatko and Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Mike Bordick's return to the Orioles' lineup yesterday was cut short when he suffered a sprained left foot that's expected to keep him out of the lineup for at least three days and could lead to Cal Ripken's return to shortstop.

Bordick fouled a ball off the inside of his left foot during Sunday's loss to Texas, and the resulting bruise forced him to sit out the following night. Saying "it's fine now" after taking batting practice yesterday, he sprained the same foot while tagging out Seattle's Rich Amaral on a delayed steal to end the fourth inning and was replaced by Jeff Reboulet.

Bordick took the throw from catcher Lenny Webster, reaching toward the first base side of the bag and making an off-balanced tag as Amaral slid into him and rolled the ankle. He limped off the field with his right arm draped on trainer Richie Bancells.

"There's not much swelling. It's not as bad as it could be," said Bordick, who could walk on the ankle afterward. "We'll just see how it is tomorrow."

Miller said he didn't expect Bordick to go on the disabled list, but would know more today. If Bordick is unavailable for more than five days, Miller said the club might call up infielder P. J. Forbes from Triple-A Rochester to take his place. Otherwise, he was comfortable starting Reboulet.

Asked about the possibility of Ripken returning to shortstop, as he did during a game in Atlanta last year, Miller said it wasn't his first option. "But if it's more than a couple of days, it's something to consider," he added.

Such a plan also would impact B. J. Surhoff, who would move from left field to third base, a position he played in Milwaukee and during his first season in Baltimore.

Bordick had good reason to want back in the lineup. Before yesterday, he was batting .316 (18-for-57) over his last 17 games.

Reboulet pinch hit for Bordick in the fourth and singled to center, keeping alive a rally that culminated in a three-run homer by Brady Anderson. He also struck out twice, giving him six in the series.

Hammonds day-to-day

Outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds was out for a second straight game because of muscle spasms in his back, and his status for the Boston series remains uncertain.

Hammonds said he has felt the spasms for "a couple of days," but they worsened during Sunday's loss to the Rangers.

"It's still bothering me to an extent," he said. "I'm day-to-day. Isn't that what they say?"

Miller had planned on using Hammonds as a defensive replacement Monday until his back tightened in the eighth inning. "So we went ahead and scratched him [yesterday]," Miller said. "We'll see how he is after today."

Hammonds was used as a pinch runner in the 10th inning. He had started 14 of 15 games until Monday, mostly in right field. Over his past 12 games, he's batted .273 (12-for-44) with three doubles, a homer, eight RBIs and nine runs. Last Mussina tuneup

Mike Mussina is scheduled to throw in the bullpen today, his last side session before Saturday's start against the Atlanta Braves.

Barring a setback, Mussina will see his first action since being struck in the face by a line drive from Cleveland's Sandy Alomar on May 14 at Camden Yards, resulting in a fractured nose and a deep gash above his right eye.

"He's on schedule," Miller said. "Obviously, I'm not going to jeopardize him, though."

Hey, kid, wanna pitch?

Left-hander Matt Riley, the club's third-round pick in last year's draft, threw in the bullpen before yesterday's game. Riley, 18, whose fastball has been clocked around 92 mph, signed with the Orioles last week and will report to rookie league Bluefield.

"He's got a good arm and he appears to be very coachable," said pitching coach Mike Flanagan. "He's strong and he's going to get bigger."

Said Miller: "That's what a prospect is supposed to look like. He's got three outstanding pitches, a smooth delivery, a great body, a great arm."

But no chance of accompanying the team to Boston, though Miller joked of the possibility.

"I asked him if he had a coat and tie with him," Miller said.

Nomo help fine with Miller

When Miller was asked yesterday if he were interested in Hideo Nomo, he said, "Obviously I'd take any major-league starter if they were available."

Miller was pitching coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates when Nomo came into the National League.

"He was awesome with the split-finger his first two years," Miller said of the 1995 Rookie of the Year. "But people started to lay off the split in his third year. When he is throwing hard, it is difficult to differentiate between the fastball and the split-finger."

Key helps from bench

All the news on disabled pitcher Jimmy Key these days isn't bad.

"Jimmy is a presence on the bench," Miller said. "Monday night he helped us with a couple of things in the game [10-9 victory]. I love Jimmy Key."

Around the horn

Ripken celebrated his 2,600th game with a two-run homer. It was Ripken's 375th homer, moving him past Rocky Colavito into 39th place on baseball's all-time list. He also walked in the fifth inning, moving past Jim Gilliam for 72nd place with 1,037. The Mariners set a club record with 13 homers over the last three games. The Orioles will retire Eddie Murray's No. 33 before Sunday's game against Atlanta. Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver will attend. Bowie's Rocky Coppinger will make his first start at Prince George's Stadium tonight against Portland as he continues his comeback bid from arm miseries. Coppinger, who had 10 wins as an Orioles rookie in 1996, has started two games on the road, posting a 1-0 record with a 1.64 ERA for the Double-A Baysox.

Pub Date: 6/03/98

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