Ripken eyeing return on trip

Back responding well to medical treatment

May 07, 1999|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Encouraged by his back's response to treatment and recent workouts, third baseman Cal Ripken said yesterday that he is hopeful of leaving the disabled list during the Orioles' 10-game road trip, which begins tonight in Detroit. Ripken met with general manager Frank Wren before yesterday's game and plans to have a follow-up discussion today.

Limited to eight starts this season, Ripken has been on the disabled list retroactive to April 18 after "nerve irritation" forced him to leave the team in Toronto during its last road trip. Ripken has received at least two cortisone shots this season and said he has experienced marked improvement since last weekend.

"The last four days have been very encouraging," Ripken said. "I've been able to go through my routine without discomfort."

Asked whether he projected his return during this three-city trip, Ripken said, "I'm always hopeful. It depends on where I am in four or five days if my progress continues and how my back reacts to the stress I put it through. You have to find that out before you play."

Ripken, put on the DL for the first time in his 19-year career, could not say whether he anticipates making a rehab appearance at one of the club's minor-league affiliates. That decision may be made today when Ripken and the club decide on the player's routine. It is believed that Ripken will again use a program designed to promote "trunk stabilization," much like he did after a herniated disk afflicted him for much of the 1997 season.

As for returning to playing shape, Ripken said, "It's easier to simulate game conditions defensively than offensively. I can go out there and put myself in situations defensively that would be close to what I would see in a game. That's not as easy to do offensively."

Pub Date: 5/07/99

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