Upset Myers says he has `no clue' on his status with O's

Orioles notebook

Catcher thinks he may be traded or released


March 04, 2001|By Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko | Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles backup catcher Greg Myers may soon seek clarification of his role from manager Mike Hargrove after failing to start either of the team's first two exhibition games. Myers said yesterday he has "no clue" regarding the situation but would not be surprised if the team is contemplating trading or releasing him.

"I don't know if they are thinking trade or release at this point," Myers said before backing up rookie Fernando Lunar in yesterday's exhibition against the Minnesota Twins. "But either way I need at-bats. I'm wearing the uniform. I think I deserve [to know]."

Myers will make the trek to Vero Beach today for the club's exhibition against the Los Angeles Dodgers and likely back up starter Brook Fordyce.

Myers signed a two-year, $1.3 million contract with the Orioles before last season. Injuries cut into his playing time, limiting him to 125 at-bats over 43 games. Myers hit .224 with three home runs and 12 RBIs.

"I think we're all very aware that Lunar has no options left," Hargrove said. "Certainly we'll get him playing time. As far as a rookie kid coming in with the same footing as a veteran, no. Does that mean Myers will play more than Lunar? Not necessarily."

Lunar was acquired from the Atlanta Braves last July 31 in the deal that sent outfielder B. J. Surhoff and pitcher Gabe Molina to the National League. Pitcher Luis Rivera and outfielder Trenidad Hubbard were packaged with Lunar. Rivera is expected to miss the season should he undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum tomorrow as expected. Hubbard was released last winter.

Lunar, 23, is considered a superior defensive catcher who also lacks major-league options, meaning he must be exposed to waivers if he does not make the Orioles' Opening Day roster. The Orioles are unlikely to carry three catchers, along with a 12-man pitching staff. And if they were to opt for a third catcher, it's more likely the club would employ Mike Kinkade, who also plays first base and third base.

Hargrove attributed Lunar's start yesterday to Twins left-handed starting pitcher Eric Milton. Lunar is a right-handed hitter; Myers bats left-handed. Lunar was hitless in one-at-bat before Myers came on to go 1-for-3.

"Right now, I don't know anything. Zip," said Myers, a 13-year veteran. "That's not a comfortable position to be in. If my future is going to be somewhere else, I have no control over that. I'll end up somewhere. But I'm sure other clubs would like to see something."

Delayed debut

Expected to be in yesterday's lineup, Orioles first baseman David Segui apparently won't make his Grapefruit League debut until today against the Dodgers.

Segui continues to receive treatment for a strained right hamstring. He had an ice pack wrapped around his thigh while eating a sandwich at his locker before the Orioles' 5-4 victory over the Twins, but he insisted he was healthy enough to play.

"It was their call," he said. "I guess now it will be [today]. It's not bad. It's just a little strained, and they want to take it slow."

Segui also missed Friday's exhibition opener against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter. He stayed back in Fort Lauderdale and hit a long home run in an intrasquad game.

"This is just a precaution," Hargrove said. "He's making the trip [today] and playing first base."

The injury occurred Wednesday when Segui stepped into a "sand hole" during a relay drill. He sat out the next day's workout.

He couldn't have hit the ball much farther on Friday without the strain. It sailed over a hedge, estimated at 25 feet tall, beyond the center-field fence, 401 feet from the plate.

"It doesn't really count since it was an intrasquad game. I guess it would be something to brag about if it happened during the season," he said.

Positive step for Mills

Alan Mills took a significant step forward in his recovery from shoulder surgery by throwing batting practice yesterday.

Mills, whose status for Opening Day remains uncertain, used all his pitches during the session and reported no pain. He underwent an arthroscopic procedure on Sept. 15 in Birmingham, Ala., and has been brought along slowly in spring training.

Quick hits

0: At-bats received by Albert Belle in the Orioles' home exhibition opener against Minnesota.

Injury update: Belle's status remains uncertain because of a degenerative hip condition that forced him out of yesterday's lineup. ... Segui is scheduled to start at first base today in Vero Beach. ... Mills threw batting practice yesterday while recovering from right shoulder surgery. ... Cal Ripken remains about two weeks away from swinging a bat because of a fractured rib. ... Mark Nussbeck could need another two weeks before returning to the mound because of tendinitis in his right shoulder. ... Rivera will be examined tomorrow by Dr. James Andrews, who is expected to perform arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in the pitcher's right shoulder.

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