Kamieniecki injury to be re-examined

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

knee damage feared

Hamstring `not getting any better'

Rhodes sticks to pay vow

Ponson blasted

April 04, 1999|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

HOOVER, Ala. -- As expected, the Orioles placed starting pitcher Scott Kamieniecki and second baseman Delino DeShields on the disabled list yesterday, retroactive to March 25.

DeShields, who suffered a broken left thumb during a March 4 intrasquad game, is expected to be activated before the team makes its first road trip to New York April 13. Kamieniecki, who suffered a strained left hamstring while running in the outfield March 19, remains an open-ended question. Orioles team orthopedic Dr. Michael Jacobs will examine Kamieniecki today.

Kamieniecki hasn't attempted to throw from a mound since March 22, two days after he was scratched from his third spring start. He ends camp with only six innings pitched.

"I don't know what to tell you," he said before yesterday's exhibition finale. "It's not getting any better, that's for sure."

The team's medical staff is equally perplexed. Kamieniecki initially was projected to miss only one start. However, the injury limits him when he attempts to jog or participate in long toss. Miller conceded Friday night that it is unlikely he will return before May.

Though the initial diagnosis hasn't changed, there is concern Kamieniecki may have suffered more extensive damage behind the left knee. If so, the time frame for his return changes dramatically. "I'm going to wait and see what they have to say," he said. "Right now, I'm out of guesses."

DeShields will likely be assigned to extended spring in Sarasota, Fla., where he may face live pitching for four to five games. Depending on his progress, DeShields could accompany the team on its nine-game trip to New York, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

Rhodes vows to hold off talks

Reliever Arthur Rhodes insists he will carry out his promise not to discuss a contract extension with the club once the season starts tomorrow. The left-handed reliever is still waiting for the club to meet with his agent after a previous negotiating session was canceled.

"I'm not disappointed. My agent's disappointed. But I'm not mad. I'm just not going to talk about it anymore once the season starts," Rhodes said. "Once the season gets here, I don't want any distractions. We'll wait until after it's over, then deal with it."

Rhodes, 29, is entering the final season of a three-year deal that pays him a $2.2 million final installment. His agent, Danny Horwitz, was scheduled to meet with general manager Frank Wren and majority owner Peter Angelos during the team's investors weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The meeting crumbled when Angelos experienced a late change of plans.

Ponson: 1 IP, 6 ER, 2 HR

Add Sidney Ponson to those who experienced a lost spring. Ponson was pounded from yesterday's start after a six-run first inning in which he threw for the cycle and allowed 16 total bases.

He trailed 3-0 after nine pitches and received terse mound visits from Miller and first baseman Will Clark before the ordeal mercifully ended.

Ponson accomplished an ignominious feat by allowing a single, two doubles, a triple and home runs to Scott Rolen and Mike Lieberthal in the first inning.

"For some reason, I couldn't get anything down. My changeup stayed up. My curveball was up. Everything was up," said Ponson, who attributed his difficulties more to differences in the bullpen and game mounds than a blister problem experienced March 24.

Ponson's outing was the shortest by an Orioles starter this spring and left him with only 10 innings in his last three starts, a span in which a starting pitcher typically pushes for 16 to 18 innings. He made no attempt to hide his misgivings.

"I don't feel good about the season starting now at all," said Ponson, who finished camp 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA in six starts. He also surrendered a team-high five unearned runs. "I wish I had more time to get myself going."

Around the horn

The Orioles will hold an abbreviated closed workout at Camden Yards today at 1 p.m. In keeping with a new "less-is-more" information policy, the Orioles are not divulging who will throw out tomorrow's first pitch. Apparently, the honor will be a surprise to everyone, including the hurler. To create roster room, the Orioles yesterday outrighted Lyle Mouton to Triple-A Rochester. Mouton was optioned last week but could not be removed from the 40-man roster after clearing waivers. On Friday night, the Orioles sent four players to their minor-league camp in Sarasota -- pitcher Dave Evans, catcher Tommy Davis, infielder Esteban Beltre and outfielder Mike Murphy. Eddie Murray's No. 33 statue was installed at Babe Ruth Plaza outside Camden Yards yesterday. The 42-inch-tall, silver number joins those of four others retired by the club -- Earl Weaver's No. 4, Brooks Robinson's No. 5, Frank Robinson's No. 20 and Jim Palmer's No. 22. Tomorrow's home opener is sold out but, according to club officials, the remaining five games of the homestand remain wide-open. Wednesday's gate might get a jolt from a limited-edition Cal Ripken print to be distributed.

Pub Date: 4/04/99

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