Drabek 'fine' after latest session Right-hander throws off mound 15 minutes, eyes rehab start Tuesday


August 21, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Doug Drabek threw off the mound for about 15 minutes yesterday, facing hitters Willie Greene and Rich Becker from behind a protective screen. Manager Ray Miller said the veteran right-hander is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday at an undetermined minor-league site.

"I felt fine," said Drabek, who may throw again Sunday. "I was anxious to see how the bats reacted to the different pitches. I also wanted to get full extension and do things like getting off the mound to see how my leg would react to that. I was able to walk off the field, so I guess that was a good sign."

Drabek is on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1 with a strained left hamstring. Physical- Drabek ly, he said he feels ready to return, but understands that he may have to wait until rosters expand in two weeks so the club won't have to clear a spot for him.

That would change, however, if Jimmy Key or Scott Kamieniecki became unavailable. Key is pitching with pain in his left shoulder, and Kamieniecki has some disk-related pain in his upper back that may require surgery after the season.

"We'll see how Jimmy and Kammy hold up," Miller said. "But this gets Doug freshened up real good and he might be able to give us something."

"I hope so," Drabek said, laughing.

Whatever he gives probably will come from the bullpen. "It's nice to have that experience," Miller said.

Eye on the Red Sox

Players weren't huddled around the television sets in the clubhouse, but there was noticeable interest in the broadcast of Boston's loss to Texas yesterday. Before batting practice even started, the Orioles knew they had gained ground in the wild-card race.

Becker, Jeff Reboulet, Pete Smith and Arthur Rhodes sat on one sofa, staring at the screen. Rafael Palmeiro and Alan Mills glanced at another set while playing cards. Key and hitting coach Rick Down watched while getting dressed.

"This late in the season you've got to see what they're doing," Mills said, "but it doesn't matter if we don't win. If they lose and we lose, it doesn't make much difference."

"I can't even think about it," Miller said. "You think about that, you start wishing, and you can't wish. You have to go play."

Smith boosts bullpen

Before last night, Orioles relievers had compiled a 2.58 ERA in 34 games since the All-Star break, compared to 4.16 in 113 games during the first half.

Much of the credit for the resurgence can be passed among a group of starting pitchers who are going deeper into games and not taxing the bullpen, which in turn has allowed the relievers to settle into more comfortable roles. But Mills said the addition of Smith can't be overlooked.

"If you ask me, the major difference has been Pete," Mills said of Smith, who was moved to the 'pen after four rough starts. "He's done a great job since he's gone out there. He's allowed the roles to become more defined. That stabilized a lot of things."

Before allowing a one run in one-third of an inning last night, Smith had allowed only three earned runs in 18 1/3 innings over 13 appearances. He had walked four and struck out nine in that span.

Surhoff breaks out

B. J. Surhoff spent much of the afternoon in the video room, studying tapes of some recent at-bats. He wasn't watching them with admiration.

Heading into last night's confrontation with Tampa Bay left-hander Tony Saunders, Surhoff had gone 16-for-69 (.232) in the past 18 games, lowering his average to .283.

Miller had considered giving Surhoff the night off, but there aren't many favorable matchups with the club down to one right-handed-hitting outfielder, Eric Davis, after last week's trade Jeffrey Hammonds. So Miller decided to stick with Surhoff in left field rather than start left-handed hitters Becker and Greene.

"He's a little beat up, but he doesn't believe a day off will help him," Miller said.

Good move, because Surhoff went 3-for-3, including a game-tying, bases-empty home run in the seventh inning.

Becker didn't sit for long. He was put in center field in the second inning after Brady Anderson limped off the field with a strained right patella tendon. Anderson crashed into the fence attempting to make a leaping catch of Bubba Trammell's double, and is listed as day-to-day.

Surhoff has appeared in every game this season, starting all but eight. Miller said he might rest him Sunday or Tuesday in conjunction with Monday's open date.

"Then he'll be fresh the rest of the year," Miller said. "B. J. on one leg is as good as many players in baseball."

Around the horn

Hitting his eighth home run Thursday, which tied a career high, didn't assure Mike Bordick of being in the lineup last night. He was given a breather by Miller, who penciled in Jeff Reboulet at shortstop. Bordick is battling a cold, "plus Rebs hasn't been playing that much. I just thought this was a good time," Miller said. Bordick did play the ninth inning, however, after Greene pinch hit for Reboulet in the eighth. Wade Boggs went 0-for-4, ending his 11-game hitting streak. Wednesday night's 6-4 win over the Devil Rays drew a 10.4 rating, the highest for an Orioles game on Home Team Sports this season. More than 102,000 homes in the Baltimore metro area were watching.

Pub Date: 8/21/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.