Mussina start pushed to Sunday Wife due to give birth, so pitcher returns home

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

September 03, 1998|By Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko | Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Pitcher Mike Mussina left the Orioles yesterday, and his next start will be pushed from Saturday to Sunday. Mussina returned to his Montoursville, Pa., home to be with his wife, Jana, who is expecting the couple's first child together. According to club officials, Mussina is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the team late Saturday.

Manager Ray Miller has reconfigured his rotation to have Scott Erickson pitch Saturday afternoon, with Mussina pitching Sunday night's game.

Erickson will be appearing on three days' rest after taking the loss Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox. The arrangement fits the profiles of each as Erickson embraces an opportunity to pitch on short rest, while Mussina is more comfortable with longer rest.

Flopping Mussina and Erickson won't the be the only adjustment on the six-game trip, beginning tomorrow in Seattle. Miller plans to start Doug Johns on Monday in Oakland against his former team. Johns will start in place of fifth starter Doug Drabek. Indeed, the role is uncertain beyond Johns' appearance as Miller may return to Drabek or, depending on circumstances, allow a pending call-up to take a turn.

Scott Kamieniecki remains a health question given a disk condition that may require postseason surgery.

Still bothered by a strained groin muscle, Willie Greene was scratched from the lineup last night and replaced in right field by Rich Becker.

Greene aggravated the injury when he slipped on the rubberized surface near the right-field railing while attempting a throw during Friday's game against Kansas City. He has been a pinch hitter twice since then, and was in obvious discomfort while running out a ground ball Tuesday.

Greene is receiving heat and ultrasound treatments, and said he expects the condition to last the remainder of the season.

"It's a little better," he said. "It just hurts when I start to run and when I slow down. There's not as much pain when I'm in full stride."

Miller back in uniform

Miller arrived at Camden Yards about 90 minutes before the game after attending his father-in-law's funeral in New Athens, Ohio. Miller made the drive to Baltimore, which normally takes about 6 1/2 hours, in considerably less time.

"If you walk out front, that black Dodge probably is still smoking," he said.

Hitting coach Rick Down ran the club in Miller's absence Tuesday. Miller said it was only the third game he had missed since the spring of 1965.

"Obviously, it's been a tough two days, but we got through it all right," he said.

Decision due on Anderson

Miller said he may speak with Brady Anderson about the possibility of shutting down the center fielder for the remainder of the season. Anderson is playing with a slightly torn patella tendon in his right knee that probably will require surgery.

"I suppose he'd have to make the call," Miller said. "What he has wrong with his knee is not going to heal itself. I wouldn't want to see it hurt any further, but then again, I haven't given up yet, either."

Around the horn

Willis Otanez said he won't need surgery on his fractured left wrist, but will remain in a cast for four more weeks. Otanez still hopes to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and Miller has said he has earned a chance to compete for a spot here next season. Otanez mostly played third base in the minors before being moved to first base and the outfield.

Miller is expected to receive a pitcher from the minor leagues by early next week -- most likely right-hander Chris Fussell, who has split time between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Rochester. He also has requested infielder P. J. Forbes.

First baseman Calvin Pickering was named the Eastern League's Player of the Month for August after hitting 12 homers and driving in 34 runs. He also reached base in 15 consecutive plate appearances between Aug. 17 and 19.

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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