Drabek forced back on to DL by a strained left hamstring Munoz returns to team

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

aching Key DL-bound?

August 09, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS -- The contagion that spread through the Orioles' Opening Day rotation won't let go. Doug Drabek, already exiled to the bullpen after suffering through three indifferent months, was placed on the disabled list yesterday with a strained left hamstring. It is the second time Drabek has been put on the DL this season. The Orioles announced the move was made retroactive to Aug. 1, meaning Drabek will be eligible to return Aug. 16.

Right-handed reliever Bobby Munoz was promoted for the second time from Triple-A Rochester.

To create room on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated injured right-hander Billy Percibal for assignment.

Drabek, who last appeared in Kansas City on July 31, had experienced tightness in the hamstring since. When called upon to warm during Friday's slugfest here, he aggravated the condition.

The injury resides high in his landing leg. According to Drabek, pain flares every time he strides on the leg and attempts to extend.

"It just stops me when I land on it," he said. "As a result, I pitch straight up, and that's not helping anybody."

Drabek slogged through five innings against the Royals, saving the rest of the bullpen but hurting himself. The club remains optimistic he will be ready when eligible to leave the DL but Drabek refused to speculate. He lost time earlier because of a strained chest muscle suffered while warming up in Toronto.

"This is something I seem to get every year," he said. "I had the problem in Pittsburgh. I guess I just have bad hamstrings."

Munoz gets a second chance after bombing in his first try. From May 15 to June 5, he absorbed a 10.80 ERA in 10 innings. He allowed 14 hits and six walks. However, in his last 29 outings for Rochester he went 2-0 with 13 saves and an 0.51 ERA.

Key may return to DL

Jimmy Key earned a win Friday in his first regular-season relief appearance since 1986, but experienced further discomfort his problematic left rotator cuff. He complained to manager Ray Miller when leaving the mound after his two-thirds of an inning appearance and, unless the sensation has subsided today, may miss a scheduled throw session. The Orioles are considering his return to the disabled list.

"He said, 'It doesn't feel good. Then again, it might never feel good,' " said Miller, who admitted concern when he saw Key retreat behind the mound.

If that becomes the case, the Orioles will likely assign his spot to Arthur Rhodes when the left-handed middle reliever leaves the disabled list. Rhodes threw in the outfield yesterday and is expected to be activated by the end of the current road trip.

Milestone for Molitor

At 41, Twins designated hitter Paul Molitor stole his 500th base in the third inning. The steal was only Molitor's fifth this season but with it he became only the fifth player to combine 500 steals with 3,000 hits. The others -- Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins and Lou Brock -- are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Molitor also had his sixth career five-hit night, going 5-for-5.

Around the horn

The Twins scratched Maryland alumnus Eric Milton from today's start because of shoulder soreness. The Orioles won't complain. Out-dueled by Mike Mussina, Milton contained them during a 2-0 loss in Baltimore May 3. With last night's start, Sidney Ponson moved into fifth place among American League rookies in appearances (24).

String of hits

Eric Davis tied Rafael Palmeiro's club record last night by hitting in his 24th consecutive game. Top Orioles hitting streaks:

Gms ..... Player .......... Dates

24 ...... R. Palmeiro ..... 4/24-5/22/94

......... E. Davis ........ 7/12-8/8/98

22 ...... R. Alomar ....... 5/12-6/2/96

......... B. Bonilla ...... 9/10/95-4/3/96

......... D. DeCinces ..... 9/8/78-5/6/79

......... E. Murray ....... 8/17-9/10/84

21 ...... J. Orsulak ...... 8/2-8/25/91

20 ...... D. Johnson ...... 9/29/70-4/27/71

......... B. Nieman ....... 8/17-9/7/56

19 ...... B. Boyd ......... 8/18-9/6/56

Pub Date: 8/09/98

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