Bordick slowly making progress

Orioles notebook

After shoulder surgery, shortstop gets 2 hits, raises average to .318

March 10, 2002|By Peter Schmuck and Roch Kubatko | Peter Schmuck and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick had two more hits yesterday. He raised his spring average to .318 and gave no outward indication that his first three weeks of spring training have been anything but good.

It is not that simple, of course. Bordick, who is working his way back from shoulder surgery, still can't say he feels like a new man. The strength in his shoulder is improving steadily, but it is on its own schedule.

"There's always that process," he said yesterday. "You throw a lot in spring training. You don't realize how much you throw with the warm-ups and everything. I've just got to get used to that. The only thing I'm concerned about is when is some of this [soreness] going to go away.

"Everybody goes through the muscle soreness. That's part of it. Because of the surgery, I guess it's just going to taper down more slowly. I think any time you do a surgery on a joint, your body just has to recover from it."

Not that anyone has really noticed that he isn't yet 100 percent. Bordick has handled his position much the way he has always done. He may not have the biggest arm on the block, but he remains one of the game's steadiest defensive infielders.

"Mike has always relied on quickness and accuracy," said manager Mike Hargrove. "I don't see Mike having lost a lot of strength from last year, but I think as he gets into it, I think you'll see his arm strength improve."

Bordick, 36, is happy to be back on the field. The next goal is to be in the lineup on Opening Day, and then to stay there all year.

If he succeeds, he likely will try to extend his career beyond the 2002 season.

"It's just a goal to be able to come back and play," he said.

Change of address?

The Texas Rangers will be moving to a new spring training facility in Arizona next year, leaving their Port Charlotte complex unoccupied and potentially available for a new tenant.

There is some sentiment in the Orioles' organization that the club would be better served making a temporary move to Port Charlotte while club officials continue to work toward getting a new facility.

The club's current spring facility in Fort Lauderdale has only three fields. The Rangers' complex, with 6 1/2 fields, would allow the Orioles to combine their major- and minor-league operations, which now are three hours apart in Fort Lauderdale and Sarasota.

Vice president for baseball operations Syd Thrift and Hargrove are known to prefer a combined operation, but club owner Peter Angelos has long been partial to the Fort Lauderdale area because of its convenience for vacationing Orioles fans and the team's minority owners.

The Orioles have made several attempts over the past 13 years to secure a new facility on the east coast of Florida, but have not gotten the municipal support to start construction.

Hargrove bounced

Hargrove was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna in the third inning, apparently for arguing over a checked swing by Rangers batter Michael Young.

"He looked over at me and I said, `Just do your job,' " said Hargrove, conceding that there might have been one more word in the sentence that made it a little more inflammatory. "I turned away and then I heard the crowd cheering and I said to myself, `This guy just threw me out of the ballgame.' "

Juan definitely gone

The Rangers were without newly re-signed slugger Juan Gonzalez. He returned to his native Puerto Rico to have some wisdom teeth extracted. Club officials said he likely would return today, but he might need a few days to recover from the surgery before returning to the exhibition lineup.

New job for Johnson

Former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson has been named director of the club's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) League. Johnson, a graduate of Overlea High School, will oversee teams from Baltimore City and the surrounding counties in the 13-15 and 16-18 age divisions.

"I'm looking forward to the chance to share my love of baseball with a new generation of athletes," said Johnson, who spent three of his five seasons in the majors with the Orioles.

"The goal of RBI League is to maintain interest in baseball among athletes in their teen-age years, which is a challenge given the small number of recreational leagues in Baltimore City for players in this age group. RBI League fills that need and we hope more teams will take advantage of the opportunity to continue playing baseball."

The RBI season begins in May, with games played at Patterson, Druid Hill and Hanlon parks.

Information: 410-817-9086.

Around the horn

The Orioles' promotional schedule this season includes four fireworks nights and three bobblehead doll giveaways. The fireworks can be seen after the May 17, June 29, July 19 and Aug. 23 games. The club is distributing the bobblehead dolls on July 15 (fans will receive one of three current Orioles, to be handed out randomly at the gates), July 23 (the new "Fun Bird") and Aug. 7 (talking Chuck Thompson).

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