Kamieniecki may need surgery Operation would top off frustrating year for starter

Orioles Notebook

September 14, 1998|By Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko | Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Scott Kamieniecki and the Orioles will learn today whether the right-handed starter will need to undergo surgery later this week. lTC Kamieniecki will be examined in Cleveland and a recommendation made.

Thus far, he has been given every indication surgery will be required to alleviate pain associated with a herniated disk in his neck. The condition twice forced him to the disabled list and has limited him to one start since May.

"I guess we'll finally know something," Kamieniecki said. "It's been bothering me for a long time without getting much better. I don't know for sure what the doctor will say. It could be anything from rest to therapy to surgery. Whatever it is, I need to know and get on with it."

Among the options is surgery to fuse the area. Such a procedure would necessitate at least four months of rehabilitation. If decided upon, surgery would take place tomorrow or Wednesday.

In the first year of a two-year, $6.3 million contract, Kamieniecki, 34, suffered a frustrating season, going 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA in only 54 2/3 innings. League teams battered him for a .313 average, and he finished with more walks (26) than strikeouts (25). Kamieniecki returned to his Flint, Mich., home earlier this month and has been performing light exercises, though not throwing.

The Orioles are not projecting him as part of their rotation for 1999. One of the club's off-season priorities is to shore up the rotation with, preferably, a left-hander who can be slotted between No. 2 starter Scott Erickson and No. 3 Juan Guzman.

"Right now, I don't know what my future is except I may be having surgery [this] week," Kamieniecki said.

Back to the vets

After working rookies Jerry Hairston and Calvin Pickering into the past two games, manager Ray Miller went with a more standard lineup yesterday against Anaheim right-hander Jack McDowell. Veterans filled every position, including Harold Baines as designated hitter.

Miller, who also was eyeing a sweep of the Angels after his club had taken the first two games, made the right call with Baines. A St. Michaels native, he went 4-for-4 with two RBIs in a 12-7 win.

Ryan Minor made his major-league debut in the eighth, hitting for Baines. He lined a single to center field against Angels left-hander Allen Watson. Minor received a standing ovation.

Around the horn

Miller said he still expects Sidney Ponson to make tomorrow's scheduled start against Texas. A blister on the rookie's right index finger has kept him from pitching since Sept. 2, but Ponson threw in the bullpen yesterday and said it felt all right. "I imagine he'll be fine. Heck, he's young," Miller said. B. J. Surhoff tied a career high by playing in his 148th straight game. Brady Anderson's fourth-inning homer moved him into a tie for sixth place with Paul Blair on the club's all-time RBI list with 567.

Pub Date: 9/14/98

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