Batista misses game because of headache


3rd baseman latest Oriole to fall victim to virus

March 08, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A virus that's sweeping through the Orioles' clubhouse might have claimed another victim.

Third baseman Tony Batista was scratched from yesterday's lineup after complaining of a headache. Jeff Conine moved across the infield to take Batista's place, and Ryan McGuire started at first.

"I have to assume he's got what everyone else has, a head and chest cold," said manager Mike Hargrove.

Batista said the headaches began three days ago. He sat in the Orioles' dugout during batting practice and was supposed to be checked by a doctor.

Conine didn't seem to mind the switch. He hit a bases-empty homer in the seventh inning to wipe out Boston's 1-0 lead. Umpires suspended play before the eighth, giving the Orioles their first spring tie.

Hargrove's original lineup underwent another change. Chris Singleton didn't play because of tightness in his hamstring, with Tim Raines Jr. replacing him in center field.

Singleton felt the hamstring tug while scoring from first base during Wednesday's game. With sloppy conditions yesterday, the Orioles weren't taking any chances.

"We caught it early, so I should be fine," he said.

The Orioles may choose to keep Singleton out of today's game rather than risk aggravating the injury, especially if rain soaks the field again.

Bordick's view

Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick batted eighth Wednesday for the first time this spring, a different perspective for a player who had been situated much higher in the order.

What will his view be like on Opening Day?

Bordick mostly has batted second or ninth during his two stints with the Orioles, but Hargrove has used him in the third slot almost exclusively this spring. He hit second in one Grapefruit League game and moved down Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He didn't play yesterday against the Red Sox.

Bordick never batted third in his career until April 19, and he did it three times before injuring his right shoulder in June and having surgery to remove a bone spur.

"I don't know what the other lineups are going to be," he said. "I think a lot of guys can hit three, four, five, six."

Chris Richard normally would be in that range, but he might not play until around the All-Star break after having shoulder surgery.

"In my mind, making up the lineup, I'd feel comfortable hitting anywhere," Bordick said. "I like hitting second, but even ninth would be a fun spot to hit."

At this point in the spring, Hargrove said he's just "playing with the lineup."

"When we get into the last four or five games, maybe even before then, we'll start solidifying the lineup. Right now I'm just kind of looking at different combinations and different areas," Hargrove said.

Where he bats is only one of the issues facing Bordick this spring. His right shoulder still hasn't returned to normal, though Bordick said it's getting close.

"It's getting better and better," he said. "There's still a little room [for improvement]. I'm waiting to get over the hump. It feels better than it has in any other spring in the last few years, but like every other spring, there's a dead time with your arm. I'm in the process of trying to get it up over that hump. It doesn't feel 100 percent, but it's pretty close."

Around the horn

John Burkett, signed by the Red Sox as a free agent, pitched three hitless innings. ... The Ripken Museum in Aberdeen will display "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's "Black Betsy" bat beginning tomorrow. The bat is on loan to the museum through March 31.

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