Rhodes' return is relief to Miller Drabek side session goes 'very well'

Orioles Notebook

Kamieniecki no worse, exam shows

August 18, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The Orioles are getting closer to wiping their disabled list clean. Only Doug Drabek remains after reliever Arthur Rhodes was activated before last night's 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Rhodes hasn't pitched in the majors since registering two shutout innings July 4 in New York, two days before the All-Star break. He didn't face live hitters again until going two innings in Saturday's rehab start with Triple-A Rochester. Rhodes threw 30 pitches, allowing one run and three hits. Most important, he said he didn't feel any pain or restrictions in his left elbow, which had been troubling him because of an inflamed flexor tendon.

Asked if the elbow has returned to pre-injury form, Rhodes said, "It's getting there. I won't really know until I get into a game. Down there, [his throwing] was just loose and easy."

Rhodes had given up only six earned runs and struck out 34 in his last 28 innings. He was examined yesterday by trainer Richie Bancells, who said he couldn't elicit any pain from the reliever during stress tests.

"His strength was very good. He has a lot of confidence and said he was ready to go," Bancells said.

"Hopefully that's behind us," said manager Ray Miller. "It would be nice to get back to when we started the season 10-2 and I had those four guys [Rhodes, Alan Mills, Jesse Orosco and Armando Benitez] from the seventh inning on. Art was in and out the whole month of May. I'd use him, then I couldn't use him for two or three days."

To make room for Rhodes, the Orioles designated reliever Bobby Munoz for assignment. Munoz made two appearances with the Orioles after being added to the roster for a second time Aug. 8. He permitted one run and four hits in two innings.

Drabek's return remains on hold. He has been on the DL since Aug. 1 with a strained left hamstring, but threw pain-free for about 10 minutes before Friday's game in Cleveland, and again for about 17 minutes yesterday.

"It went very well," said pitching coach Mike Flanagan. "He threw everything. We'll see how he feels tomorrow, but he really pushed it today."

Miller said it's possible Drabek could make a rehab start before rejoining the club.

Kamieniecki no worse

Scott Kamieniecki stayed behind in Cleveland to have his disk condition evaluated yesterday morning, then joined the club later in the day. Kamieniecki was seen by Dr. Henry Bohlman, who had examined him in Baltimore.

Kamieniecki has made four starts since being activated, but still has some pain in his upper back. He was on the DL May 23 to July 24 with a bulging disk.

"I wouldn't say it's any worse or any better," Bancells said. "Sometimes it's uncomfortable and sometimes it's OK. The recommendation is to continue doing what he can do and see how it goes.

"Before the trip, we had discussed dropping in on [Bohlman] because he wanted us to get back to him. The appointment didn't come because [Kamieniecki] had any kind of setback. It was merely because we were in Cleveland."

Kamieniecki's next turn in the rotation is Friday against the Indians, and Miller expects him to make the start. "Apparently he's all right to pitch," Miller said.

A seat for Davis ...

The end of a long hitting streak and a bothersome hamstring conspired to keep Eric Davis out of the lineup for only the third time since the break.

Davis was replaced in right field by Willie Greene, making his first appearance at Camden Yards since being acquired from Cincinnati for outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds on Aug. 10.

Miller said he noticed the leg "bit" Davis while he swung at a pitch Sunday in Cleveland, when he went 0-for-3 to halt his streak at 30 games, the longest in Orioles history. Davis was 14-for-37 (.378) on the 10-game road trip.

"I'll get him out of there for a day or so and let him freshen up a little bit," Miller said. "I know his leg's tight. He only has one speed and that's wide-open, and he was dragging it the last two or three days."

Said Davis: "I'm just going to roll with it. If it starts to feel better, I'll be in there [tonight]."

As for his streak expiring, Davis said, "You know it's going to end sometime, but it is a bummer." Then, he laughed as he added, "And it's my fault. I should have gotten a hit. I take full responsibility."

... a home debut for Greene

Greene not only inherited Hammonds' No. 11, he also took over the outfielder's locker.

"To be able to play at home in front of 45,000 or 50,000 people is going to be exciting," he said. "The only time we had that many in Cincinnati was when we played St. Louis or Cleveland.

"It's been great so far. They were winning before I got here and we're winning now. As long as we can keep that up and go for the pennant, it makes you feel happy."

Greene, who went 0-for-4, said he had heard some things about Camden Yards, but decided to see for himself before passing judgment. "You're not going to know anything until you get out there," he said.

Around the horn

Cal Ripken went 3-for-4 to improve to 9-for-17 (.529) against LaTroy Hawkins. Harold Baines, who had a two-run single, also is 9-for-17 vs. Hawkins. Mike Bordick had two hits to lift his average to .260. The Twins activated former Oriole Mike Morgan and optioned left-hander Travis Baptist to Triple-A Salt Lake. Morgan, 38, was 4-2 with a 3.48 ERA before going on the DL retroactive to July 15 with a strained abdominal muscle.

Pub Date: 8/18/98

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