As pain persists, Mussina considers calling it a season

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Ace is forming deadline

Anderson back in center

September 04, 1999|By Roch Kubatko and Ken Rosenthal | Roch Kubatko and Ken Rosenthal,SUN STAFF

Growing impatient from a bruised right shoulder that won't allow him to throw, Orioles ace Mike Mussina said yesterday that he has considered shutting it down for the season.

Mussina hasn't thrown off a mound since being struck by a line drive during an Aug. 22 game vs. Chicago at Camden Yards, and doesn't appear close to doing so because of persistent discomfort.

Asked if he was done for the year, Mussina said, "I'd like to think not. I'm still trying to play. But I'll probably come up with some deadline, and if I can't get on the mound by a certain day, then I won't bother."

Mussina said the deadline roughly would be in mid-September. If he hasn't pitched by then, Mussina will have no chance of attaining his first 20-win season. He's missed three starts, including today's, and would have five left if able to take his next turn. That seems unlikely, since left-hander Matt Riley is penciled in for Thursday's assignment and Mussina has said he'd need one or two bullpen sessions before being ready.

For now, he remains stuck on 15 wins, with the incentive of winning 20 disappearing and no postseason push to warrant a rushed return.

"The pain's going away," Mussina said, "it's just not in a big hurry. If it's going to be that way, there's no reason for me to force the issue in the situation we're in."

Anderson back in center

Center fielder Brady Anderson returned to the lineup last night. Second baseman Delino DeShields left it.

Anderson was able to start after sitting out Thursday's game against Tampa Bay to rest a sore left shoulder that the three-time All-Star said he jammed slightly while making a diving catch the previous night. Anderson, who was 1-for-3 with an RBI, reclaimed his place in center field, with Eugene Kingsale returning to the bench.

"It feels all right," Anderson said after taking batting practice.

DeShields, meanwhile, didn't arrive at Camden Yards until around 5: 30 p.m. His name had been written in at second base, but that changed after he was examined yesterday by Dr. Michael Jacobs, the club orthopedist.

DeShields had to leave Thursday's game in the sixth inning after diving for a ground ball that scooted into right field. He was checked by trainer Richie Bancells and stayed for one more batter, then walked into the dugout and directly through the tunnel to the clubhouse. He was replaced by Jeff Reboulet, who inherited last night's starting assignment.

For lack of a better description, the injury was termed "lower abdominal discomfort." It was uncomfortable enough to prevent him from starting last night, though DeShields appeared as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and struck out.

"They ran some tests on his thigh," manager Ray Miller said. "It was something they wanted to check out. Obviously, he's been hampered a little bit."

DeShields has batted .246 (34-for-138) in 36 games since being activated from the disabled list on June 23 after missing 28 games with a strained right hamstring. He also was on the DL from March 25 to April 10 with a fractured left thumb.

Fetters' elbow `great'

Reliever Mike Fetters said his right elbow, which needed surgery on June 22 to remove bone chips and spurs, responded well to his first major-league appearance in almost three months.

Fetters finished up Thursday's 11-6 win over Tampa Bay, allowing two runs and four hits in the ninth. By not being subjected to a recurrence of the pain that forced him to the disabled list on June 7, he had passed a significant test. But it also was a lengthy one. He needed 34 pitches to complete the inning.

"I felt great today," said Fetters, who didn't allow a hit in four rehab appearances with Triple-A Rochester being being activated. "I felt really good throwing last night, too. I thought I threw the ball well enough. I got ground balls but they found the holes. I don't think anyone hit the ball real hard. They were just good enough to get through the holes.

"If I continue to do that, I'll be all right."

Fetters said he was surprised by his velocity. His fastball ranged from 88 to 91 mph. "That was a plus for me," he said.

Raving about Ryan

Miller likes what he's seen so far of rookie left-hander B. J. Ryan, who's turned in 2 2/3 scoreless innings over two appearances since being summoned from Triple-A Rochester. But Miller also knows Ryan barely has scratched the surface.

His nails will dig in with experience.

"You're not really seeing the fully polished product," Miller said. "He's still a little nervous, but he's got a good arm and a very unique delivery. I've seen him twice and I've seen some pretty good left-handed hitters take some bad swings. You can tell they're not picking the ball up."

Scorecard to savor

Jesse Orosco was given a memento yesterday from his historic 1,072nd appearance, which set the record for most games pitched: The framed scorecard that broadcaster Jim Hunter had used in the Aug. 17 game against Minnesota.

Just one problem. A plaque below the scorecard had the 42-year-old reliever's last name spelled "Orasco."

"He hasn't played long enough," Fetters said. "They don't know his name yet."

Rockin' Robbie

Joining the rest of the Indians, Roberto Alomar has done a number on his former team this season:

D ....................H/AB ........R ..........BI ...........BB ...........Res

5/10 ...................0-1 ........0 ............1............. 2 ..........W 6-4

5/11 ...................1-5 ........1 ............0 .............0 .........W 11-6

5/12 ...................2-4 ........2 ............0 .............0 ...........W 6-5

8/13 ...................1-3 ........2 ............1 .............1 ...........W 6-3

8/14 ...................1-3 ........1.............2 .............1 ...........W 7-1

8/15 ...................1-4 ........0 ............0 .............0 ...........W 5-1

9/3 .....................2-5 ........2 ............5 .............0 ...........W 7-6

Tot ...................8-25 ........8 ............9 .............4 ...............7-0

Pub Date: 9/04/99

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