Surgery to put Fetters out 6-8 weeks

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Bone spurs in right elbow to be removed

Webster sees Monday rehab start

June 16, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Orioles reliever Mike Fetters will undergo surgery later this week to remove bone spurs from his right elbow and is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks.

Fetters complained of soreness in the elbow while pitching against Philadephia on June 6 at Camden Yards and was placed on the disabled list the next day. He was examined by team orthopedic doctor Michael Jacobs and received a second opinion last week from Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles. Their findings were the same, said general manager Frank Wren.

"Both of them felt we could take a conservative approach and he could work through rehab for two to three weeks and possibly be able to come back and throw at his normal rate," Wren said. "But after the two doctors talked yesteday, they decided it might make more sense to go ahead and have surgery."

Fetters had been eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday when the Orioles begin a six-game homestand against Boston. Signed to a minor-league contract in February, he's 1-0 with a 5.48 ERA.

Wren said Fetters most likely won't be transferred to the 60-day DL. "We would only do that if we needed the roster spot and we felt like his rehab time would take longer," he said.

Webster readies rehab

With a month having passed since he last played, Orioles catcher Lenny Webster said yesterday that he expects to begin a brief injury rehabilitation assignment on Monday after the club returns from a four-game series in Chicago.

Webster went on the disabled list retroactive to May 13 with a strained tendon in his right ankle, the result of his attempt to avoid a tight pitch from Cleveland's Dwight Gooden. He's told manager Ray Miller that he would rather test the ankle at one of the nearby affiliates -- either Single-A Frederick or Double-A Bowie -- rather than go to the minor-league facility in Sarasota, Fla., or Triple-A Rochester.

"I just want to see if I can catch," he said. "I feel pretty comfortable swinging the bat. It's just a matter of being able to catch nine innings."

Webster has caught in the bullpen the past few nights and said he gets "a little soreness." He's gauged his health at between 70 and 80 percent -- close enough, he believes, for a return to the active roster.

"Initially, I was told it was a six-to eight-week injury. I'd hate to sit eight weeks, and there's no guarantee it'll be 100 percent after that amount of time, anyway, so I'd rather take my chances," he said.

"You're speaking to somebody who's never been on the disabled list. I don't know how to act. I don't know what to do with myself. It's been a trying time. I've had to battle with being patient and giving my ankle time to heal."

In Webster's absence, Mike Figga made his third start with the Orioles on Monday. Having kept the baseballs from his first major-league hit -- last year with the New York Yankees -- and his first hit with the Orioles, Figga added to his collection that night with his first big-league RBI.

"It felt great, something I can look back on and smile," he said. "My first RBI, and it scored Cal Ripken. An added bonus."

Figga is hoping to expand his memorabilia with the ball from his first home run, though that one will be harder to retrieve -- if it happens.

"It's something to look back on. I'm just enjoying every moment. I'm ecstatic," he said.

"I don't know what will happen when Lenny comes off the DL, but for now and for as long as I'm here, I'm enjoying it and having fun."

Belle warming up

Though right-fielder Albert Belle had only one homer in his last 24 games before last night, Miller said he'd seen signs that a breakout is imminent.

Belle had six hits in the previous three games, including his fourth double. "The bat's getting out there. He's hitting the ball through the hole on the left side," Miller said.

"The difference between a line drive and a home run is probably three more inches."

Belle ripped another line drive in the first inning last night, scoring Brady Anderson from second base. And he made Miller look good with his eight-inning homer that tied last night's game.

Seven more in fold

The Orioles signed seven more of their draft picks yesterday, including eighth-round selection Matthew Tate, a right-hander from Holmes County High in Bonifay, Fla.

Also signed were catcher Octavio Martinez, 10th round, from Bakersfield (Calif.) Junior College; outfielder Steven Salargo, 20th round, from East Carolina University; second baseman Willie Harris, 24th round, from Kennesaw (Ga.) State University; catcher Michael Seestedt, 26th round, from the University of Michigan; right-hander Aaron Rakers, 23rd round, from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; and right-hander James Phillips, 33rd round, from Maysville High in Zanesville, Ohio.

The club also has reached a $1.7 million agreement with first-round pick Michael Paradis, a right-hander from Clemson who was the 13th overall selection in the draft.

Around the horn

B. J. Surhoff extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games with a third-inning single. Surhoff had a 15-game hitting streak earlier this season and is the first Orioles player to have two hitting streaks of that length in a season since Rafael Palmeiro had a 16-game streak and a 24-game streak in 1994. Left-hander Jesse Orosco moved past Kent Tekulve into third place on the all-time list of games pitched at 1,051.

Pub Date: 6/16/99

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