Hit by pitch, Ripken suffers bruised wrist

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

X-rays are inconclusive

he'll see specialist today

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

Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken left last night's game in the third inning after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch from Montreal's Mike Thurman. A club official said X-rays taken at the ballpark were inconclusive -- perhaps because of the swelling -- and that Ripken will be re-evaluated today by a hand specialist.

For now, the ailment is being described only as a bruise.

Ripken was struck on the wrist while batting in the second inning. He spun out of the box and grabbed his hand before heading to first base. He later scored on a single by Brady Anderson, and was replaced the next inning by Jeff Reboulet.

Ripken wasn't available to comment after the game.

"He didn't think it was that bad when he came off. He's a tough war horse, to say the least. He'll heal quick," manager Ray Miller said.

Ripken kicked at the dirt as he stood at first base after being hit. Miller had pointed out earlier how that's a sure sign that Ripken is in pain.

Miller was reminded of this while watching the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, when Ripken was nailed on the left forearm.

"I held my breath, especially when I saw him look at it when he got to first, because he never looks at it. But I saw him laughing and smiling, so I knew he was all right," Miller said.

"It's always easy to tell when Cal's mad. He starts stomping his foot. One foot just starts hitting the ground real hard. I knew he wasn't hurt [Tuesday] because I didn't see the foot stomping."

Miller: Don't give up

Miller conducted a brief meeting with his players before they took the field to stretch. He welcomed them back from the three-day break, and drew a line between what he perceives as the believers and the non-believers.

He wanted to make sure they knew on which side he stood.

"The gist of everything was that I haven't given up yet and most of the media have," Miller said. "I haven't given up and I don't think any of these players have and I'm anxious to see how they respond."

Crunching some wild-card numbers, Miller added, "There's about 12 games in the loss column and 11 weeks to go. That's one game a week and that doesn't eliminate anybody, so let's go.

"The bottom line for us is to try to improve in the loss column at least one game a week. Anything more than that is great.

"I know if we throw the ball over the plate, we're good enough against anybody. When we pitch well, we're an outstanding ballclub"

Miller doesn't expect the July 31 trade deadline to loom too heavily over his club and cause a distraction.

"No, you deal with that," he said before placing blame on familiar culprits.

"The media creates most of that; everybody comes up with some rumor for something and tries to get a response out of somebody. Every player on every major-league team is traded twice a year. It's just that probably 1 percent of them go through.

"The only thing I'll say about it as far as trades go and ownership, my general manager [Frank Wren] told me the only time we would consider a trade is if it would help us win now and in the future. It's not like he's just going to go out and trade people for a bunch of minor-league players."

Webster deal looms

One move that appears imminent involves catcher Lenny Webster, who could be traded by the weekend. Pittsburgh, which lost Jason Kendall for the season, is the team most likely to acquire him, though interest also has been shown by Atlanta, Los Angeles and Cleveland.

Webster remains on the disabled list while in uniform. He took batting practice again yesterday and said, "Something's going to happen real soon."

Added Miller: "It's a continuing saga. I'm sure something will come to fruition soon."

Wren, who has kept Webster apprised of the situation, said the club is "nearing a decision on what we're going to do."

DeShields at Delmarva

Second baseman Delino DeShields, who has been on the disabled list since June 20 with a strained right hamstring, reported to lower Single-A Delmarva last night on an injury rehab assignment. He played in the second game of a doubleheader and was expected to remain with the club through tomorrow.

"We want to make sure he's 100 percent," Miller said. "We'll check on him day-by-day to see if the leg's OK and that there are no problems."

DeShields' return will force the Orioles to make a decision regarding rookie infielder Jerry Hairston, whose seven-game hitting streak ended last night. The club is leaning toward returning him to Triple-A Rochester, but Hairston continues to present a strong argument for staying.

"They're tough decisions, yet they're good decisions because it means you've got multiple people who can do the job," Miller said. "The only thing I've said is I'd hate to see Jerry sit."

Reliever Ricky Bones, who's eligible to come off the DL on Sunday, continues to do exercises to strengthen a tired arm. Miller said a decision hasn't been made whether Bones will be sent on an rehab assignment. If so, it probably will be for one appearance.

Around the horn

The Orioles signed the last of their sandwich picks, Brian Roberts, a shortstop from South Carolina who was the 50th overall selection. Anderson's stolen bases were the 18th, 19th and 20th in his past 24 attempts. The three steals were one short of his career high.

Pub Date: 7/16/99

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