Sharp pain sets back O's Rhodes Miller perplexed by lefty

Orioles Notebook

Alomar to miss few more

July 20, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Arthur Rhodes is eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow. It is empty timing.

Rhodes confirmed yesterday that soreness in his left elbow that landed him on the disabled list July 13 has not improved despite a cortisone injection intended to reduce inflammation in the area. Pitching coach Mike Flanagan called off yesterday's scheduled bullpen session after Rhodes complained of sharp pain while tossing in the outfield Friday. It is uncertain when Rhodes will next attempt to throw.

"Right now, I'm just waiting for this pain to go away," said Rhodes, who said he has only been told that no ligament damage is suspected. Manager Ray Miller said before last night's game that he does not expect Rhodes to require off-season surgery. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow.

"I'm not going to throw until this sharp pain in my elbow goes away," Rhodes said. "I don't know when that's going to be, but it hasn't gotten a whole lot better."

Rhodes said it may be as long as next weekend before he again attempts to throw. The club is considering several alternatives, including acquiring another reliever and moving Rhodes into the starting rotation when his elbow improves.

"I'm concerned," Miller said. "I'm waiting to hear good news."

Miller classified the situation as "perplexing" and said he is at a loss to project what Rhodes' role might be upon his return. "I'm not sure of where to go with Arthur. Mike was talking about starting him and I said, 'How can we do that if he throws 40 pitches and then needs two days off?'

"It's kind of perplexing. To be a closer, you have to be able to throw every day, and he obviously can't do that. But to be a starter you've got to be able to build your pitches up," Miller said.

Rhodes, a staff workhorse last season, complained about his frequent use when placed on the disabled list last Monday retroactive to July 5.

Not only had he made 30 appearances covering 57 1/3 innings -- third-most by AL relievers -- but Rhodes mentioned the strain caused by incessant calls to warm up, even on days when he did not get into a game.

Alomar to miss few more

Second baseman Roberto Alomar failed to start his seventh game of the season yesterday because of a jammed pinkie on his right hand suffered during Saturday night's 8-3 loss. Alomar, 11-for-23 during an active five-game hitting streak, was injured on a headfirst slide into second on a steal in the second inning. He remained in the game before removing himself in the seventh inning because of swelling and pain.

Alomar had X-rays that proved negative but was unable to bend the finger yesterday. "I can't hold a bat. I can't swing," said Alomar, who isn't expected to return until Thursday at the earliest.

Alomar said he didn't believe there was ligament damage, but he wore a splint on the finger and said that swelling had persisted overnight.

Jeff Reboulet, who started at shortstop Saturday, played in place of Alomar, who had appeared in 97 of the Orioles' first 98 games. Reboulet, who struck out twice Saturday, did likewise last night with an error.

Key, Kamieniecki progress

Within the same hour yesterday afternoon, Miller received a double dose of positive news regarding starting pitchers Jimmy Key and Scott Kamieniecki, who are on the disabled list. As part of rehabilitating an irritated left rotator cuff, Key pitched a five-inning simulated game in the bullpen, including five minutes rest and eight warm-ups between innings and about 40 pitches before beginning the "game."

"He threw all his pitches. He looked good," said Flanagan, who supervised Key's session. "Everything continues to be a 'go.' "

Key will throw on the side at Camden Yards tomorrow and will be assigned to make a rehab start Friday. The Orioles intend to activate him for an Aug. 2 start barring complications.

"It went good," Key said. "At this point it's really not a matter of velocity, it's a matter of regaining my location. Three or four inches to me is a big deal."

Kamieniecki pitched five innings in Bowie's 13-2 win yesterday. He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out one. Put on the DL retroactively to May 23 because of a bulging disk, Kamieniecki has been on a rehab assignment since July 9.

The Orioles remain more cautious about projecting Kamieniecki's return than Key's given a flash of stiffness in his previous start. How Miller would adjust his staff upon their return is uncertain. Rookie Nerio Rodriguez is a virtual certainty to be optioned to make room for Key. Kamieniecki, who may require time in the bullpen, presents a bigger riddle. Joel Bennett could be cleared to create room for him in long relief.

Road trip

Several Orioles had a tough time returning to the team hotel Saturday night. A bus driver dispatched from the hotel took exception when some players requested he drop them at a restaurant en route to the hotel.

When someone complained, the driver screeched to a halt, pitching several members of the entourage forward. Miller and the driver exchanged loud unpleasantries.

Around the horn

With two last night, the Orioles have nine errors in their past seven games, giving them 45 this season. The number puts them on pace for 74 this year. The Minnesota Twins set the major-league record with 84 in 1988. Last night was only the Orioles' second win when they yield an unearned run. They are 2-10 in such games. Cal Ripken's two RBIs gave him 1,493, tying him with Dave Parker for 36th on the career list. Miller spoke briefly with Rich Becker after he inexplicably ran into the final out of Saturday's loss. With one out and two on in the ninth inning, Becker broke late on Eric Davis' grounder and was nailed at the plate for the third out. Obviously, there were no hard feelings. Becker received his sixth start last night in right field, batting leadoff.

Pub Date: 7/20/98

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