Riley, still sore, still not throwing

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Ailing left biceps keeps pitcher on the sidelines

March 09, 2000|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

JUPITER, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Matt Riley still hasn't been given clearance to throw because of what he described yesterday as mild soreness in his left biceps.

Riley, the jewel of the organization's farm system, had been scheduled to pitch in Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets. He also was supposed to have a bullpen session today, but Riley said that would come "within the next couple of days."

"I'm hoping to try to work myself into a game. It's getting late in the spring," said Riley, who denied his inactivity was related to the back stiffness he experienced last season.

"This just happened from throwing so much. When I was back home, I didn't throw for the last two weeks and that kind of hurt me. My arm's tired. It's just a little sore. This is precautionary because I had the same problem last year at this time. We decided to take the day off and let it rest. That's all it was. It's nothing serious."

Riley, 20, was hoping to challenge for the fifth starter's job, but appears even more likely to begin the season at Triple-A Rochester.

Tough day for Hairston

Good fortune didn't shine upon second baseman Jerry Hairston on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, he found out the Orioles had renewed his contract for $205,000 for the 2000 season. Then, he suffered a pulled groin muscle on his left side while running out a double during a 5-4 loss to the Mets.

Hairston, competing with Delino DeShields for the second base job and Jesus Garcia for the utility spot, remained in Fort Lauderdale yesterday while the club went to Jupiter to play the Montreal Expos.

"When I've had this problem in the past, it's been on the other side," he said. "They don't think it's any big deal but let's just take care of it now."

Hairston is 3-for-10 with a double, home run, two RBIs and two walks.

Garcia, meanwhile, said Tuesday he wants to be known by his given name, Jesus, instead of Jesse.

Shortstop Mike Bordick also didn't make the trip because of the flu. It was the third straight game he's missed.

"I feel like I probably could have played today," he said. "It's just being careful until we get this thing out of me."

Better days for Webster

Lenny Webster never wanted to leave the Orioles. They practically had to take the uniform off him.

He almost decided never to put on another one.

Webster contemplated retirement after being released by the Orioles on July 20. He had requested his release from the Red Sox one month later because of a strained tendon in his right ankle that wouldn't allow him to perform at an acceptable level. But time spent at his Georgia home let Webster regain his health and his desire to continue playing.

Having pared his list of potential employers to two, Webster settled on Montreal, where he played in 1994 and 1996. He's competing for the backup job behind Chris Widger, with his stiffest competition coming from veteran Charlie O'Brien, who started yesterday and went 1-for-2 with a run scored.

Webster's only action thus far has come in the late innings, but he's 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs and a walk. He also threw out a runner trying to steal yesterday.

Three to be inducted

The Orioles will induct three more players into their Hall of Fame before the Aug. 27 game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Camden Yards, increasing membership to 41.

The newest members are relief pitchers Tippy Martinez and Eddie Watt, and Jack Dunn III, who served as owner, general manager and manager of the International League Orioles and held several front-office positions with the major-league club.

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