Infield reinforcements arriving

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Rogers expected back after visa delay

Clark is hobbling, but hopeful

Baseball

March 05, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Orioles were expecting Ed Rogers to arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last night, giving manager Mike Hargrove the extra infielder he needed and perhaps ending one of the spring's most intriguing stories.

Rogers and infielder Eddy Garabito have been late reporting to camp while trying to obtain a work visa in the Dominican Republic. There's also the added drama of Rogers being three years older than his listed age of 20.

More infield help could come today with Howie Clark scheduled to make the trip to Fort Myers, Fla. Clark has been unavailable because of a strained right quadriceps muscle. He felt a "twinge" while trying to start a double play in batting practice for Friday's game, and he aggravated the injury when he leaped for a ball.

Used later as a pinch hitter, Clark again felt a twinge while running to third base on a ground ball.

Clark did some light running on Sunday and planned to do some sprints in Fort Lauderdale yesterday while the Orioles traveled to Jupiter to face St. Louis.

"It's a shame because this would be the perfect time to be healthy, but that's baseball," said Clark, who was signed by the Orioles as a minor-league free agent. "It's tough because you want to play, but then you ask, `Is it worth going out there and being only 70 percent?' "

For good luck

In a superstitious moment, Orioles reliever Kris Foster hopped over the third base line after getting the last out of the fifth inning. Would his luck have gotten any worse if he kicked up a little chalk?

Foster gave up six runs in the inning, with Scott Coolbaugh taking him deep on a two-strike pitch to complete the onslaught. The Cardinals had seven hits and increased their lead to 11-2.

"We just didn't pitch well," Hargrove said. "We threw the ball down the middle of the plate, hung everything up there. It wasn't just one or two guys, it was most everybody."

This was the first spring game for Foster, who is trying to make the club as a setup man while also retaining an outside shot at the closer's job.

Tie: 0 runs, 6 hits

The Orioles and Cardinals played to a scoreless tie in the B game, with both sides finishing with six hits.

Chad Allen went 2-for-2, though statistics from a B game aren't official. He's hitting .500 (3-for-6) when it counts.

Ryan McGuire, who's challenging Allen for the last outfield spot, hit a long home run in the regular game. He was 2-for-4 before yesterday while backing up David Segui at first base.

Rediscovering fun

After being released by the Detroit Tigers in July, pitcher Sean Runyan decided the best way to deal with his latest professional disappointment was to forget about baseball.

Tired of rehabbing from injuries, Runyan stopped watching games. He put as much distance between himself and the ballpark as humanly possible. Pitching was replaced by puttering around the house.

"I went home, stayed at home and tried not to think about baseball," he said. "It was hard at first because I had so much time on my hands. I had been doing it for 10 years, so you're used to playing baseball in the summer.

"I did a lot of little things. I visited family, my wife and I painted the whole inside of our house. I would just make up things to do. I'm not a golfer so that killed me right there. It's like all baseball players are golfers.

"It got to the point where I didn't want to go to the park anymore. I completely lost my confidence and I just wasn't having any fun. Now I feel like I'm having fun again."

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