Shoulder surgery shelves Hale

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Orioles' top pick in 2000 may miss season

second MRI shows pain source

March 04, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

VIERA, Fla. - Beau Hale, the Orioles' first-round draft pick in 2000, will have arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder and might not pitch this season.

Hale underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test on the shoulder last week, and was examined Sunday by team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Charles Silberstein at the minor-league complex in Sarasota, Fla. No date has been announced for the surgery, which executive vice president Jim Beattie described as "exploratory."

"They saw something on the MRI and they want to take a look and see what it is," Beattie said.

Club officials won't project Hale's status this season until after the surgery, when they'll learn the extent of the damage. It's believed that Hale, 24, has a tear in his glenoid labrum, the cartilage area of his shoulder.

"He's been rehabbing, and it's not getting any better," Beattie said.

Hale was 8-8 in 22 starts at Single-A Frederick last season, but the Orioles shut him down after two appearances at Double-A Bowie because of soreness in the shoulder. It has been a disturbing pattern with Hale, who missed all of June in 2001 and didn't pitch after Aug. 8 because of lingering discomfort.

"Our hope is it's something where we can get him back this season," said Darrell "Doc" Rodgers, director of minor-league operations. "But until he has the surgery, it would be too speculative."

Scott Erickson is having surgery later this week to repair a tear in his labrum, and the Orioles don't expect him to pitch this season.

The Orioles made Hale the 14th overall selection three years ago out of the University of Texas. He threw 145 1/3 innings his junior season, going 12-6 with a 3.10 ERA and 129 strikeouts, before the Orioles drafted him.

When Hale revealed three weeks ago that the shoulder still was bothering him, the Orioles scheduled a second MRI. Hale also had one after being shut down at Bowie.

"This MRI was different from the one taken in the past," Rodgers said. "That indicates to us that there's something that might not have shown up before."

Another Bowie starter, Erik Bedard, will miss the season after having ligament-transplant surgery in his left elbow. Bedard was rated the Orioles' top prospect by Baseball America.

Not yet for Fordyce

Brook Fordyce almost made it into the lineup for the first time this spring. If only he could have caught his manager napping.

Fordyce accompanied the team to Viera, and his name was included on the original lineup card. But manager Mike Hargrove said that card was written four days ago and he wanted to give Fordyce an extra day to recover from a sore throat.

"He snuck his way through the cracks to get on the bus," said Hargrove, who gave Eli Whiteside the start.

Everyone signed

All 39 players on the major-league roster are under contract for 2003.

Pitchers Rodrigo Lopez, Rick Bauer and John Stephens, infielder Brian Roberts and catcher Geronimo Gil signed contracts yesterday. The team renewed the contracts of pitchers Jorge Julio and Willis Roberts.

The Orioles still haven't filled the opening on their 40-man roster after pitcher Steve Bechler's death on Feb. 17.

Stephens was scratched from yesterday's game because of a pulled right groin muscle. The injury occurred Sunday during drills at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

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