O's to keep Anderson, and his bat, active Knee too sore for outfield, but not batter's box


August 26, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

CHICAGO -- Resigned to being at less than 100 percent for the rest of the season, Brady Anderson and his injured right knee were saved by the bell yesterday.

The combination of Anderson's capacity to still swing a bat convincingly and the approaching window for clubs to expand their rosters persuaded the Orioles to keep the hobbled center fielder active despite a frayed right patella tendon that will likely require postseason arthroscopic surgery.

Yesterday's decision represented a slight alteration for the Orioles, who had considered placing Anderson on the disabled list retroactive to Friday if he was unable to extend himself running. Retaining his potent bat outweighed a move that would have required a trade or a minor-league summons.

"At first they seemed to indicate if I couldn't play the outfield they would make a move," said Anderson. "Now they seem to be satisfied if I can swing. I guess the deadline affects the decision, too."

Rosters may expand to 40 next Tuesday, enabling the Orioles to easily protect a player working at half-speed. Manager Ray Miller apparently is willing to use Rich Becker and Eric Davis in center field for the short term. Anderson likely will be limited to pinch-hitting duty.

"It's one thing to have an injury that requires you to play with pain," said Anderson, who has overcome suspected appendicitis and cracked ribs to remain active the previous two seasons. "If it's cracked ribs or whatever, I can do that. But when it's an injury that limits what you can physically do, that's a different situation."

Anderson suffered the injury last Thursday when he attempted to make a leaping catch at the Camden Yards center-field wall against Tampa Bay outfielder Bubba Trammell. Anderson felt a pop below his right knee and was unable to walk off the pain.

He left the game in the second inning and has not appeared since. Anderson completed the first phase of his recovery Monday when he took a strong round of batting practice. Miller was convinced he can still contribute in a part-time capacity.

"I know he can still hit," Miller said. "That's something right there."

Anderson jogged alongside strength and conditioning coach Tim Bishop in the outfield before last night's game against the Chicago White Sox. He never accelerated and limped noticeably after the brief test.

"Unless he's absolutely unable to run on it, I think he can stay [active]," Miller said shortly before the game.

Anderson also spoke briefly with general manager Pat Gillick, who did not indicate any pending move.

The injury virtually assures Anderson of a lost season after enduring an unproductive April and May. He had hit in 12 of his past 13 games with an-bat before the injury, lifting his average to a season-high .244 with 15 home runs and 46 RBIs. Anderson enjoyed a season-high 10-game hitting streak Aug. 7-16. Since hitting .063 through May 11, Anderson has batted .278.

Anderson has been bothered by knee soreness the past two seasons. Though he said his latest injury is unrelated to previous irritation in the area, he acknowledged surgery is "a consideration" after this season.

"If this hadn't happened, surgery would not have been an option," he said. "Since it happened, it is an option."

Anderson added, "A frayed tendon doesn't repair itself."

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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