O's Riley sidelined by sprained ankle

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

He's held out of workouts

pitcher: `They just want to take it easy with me'

February 26, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Orioles pitcher Matt Riley is being held out of workouts because of a sprained right ankle suffered two days before he arrived at spring training.

Riley said he slipped on a synthetic mound in Bowie while wearing low-cut sneakers. He threw in the bullpen on the first day after reporting to Fort Lauderdale Stadium, but his routine has been scaled back until the ankle is healed.

"I usually work out at Camden Yards, but nobody was there," he said. "That's why I stay out in California. It's easier to go outside and throw."

Riley soaked his ankle in the whirlpool yesterday as players milled around the clubhouse, and he had a slight limp while returning to his locker.

"They just want to take it easy with me," said Riley, who has been prohibited from running. "They don't want me to develop any other problems with my body because of my ankle. And at this point, we've still got a lot of time."

Reghi disappointed

While appreciative of the friendships he made during seven seasons as the Orioles' television play-by-play voice, Michael Reghi said he is disappointed over the decision to replace him and the timing of it.

Reghi's duties will be handled by Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra, the previous radio broadcast team, who will split television and radio assignments. Reghi approached the Orioles eight months ago about reducing his schedule and suggested working 90 to 100 games this season, but the team waited until Tuesday to make his departure official.

"I did desire to continue, and while they have every right to make whatever decision they choose, they could have done it in a more timely fashion and had a higher regard for their employees professionally than they've shown through this process," he said.

"I find it ironic there are going to be two television play-by-play men to replace me, when this is what we started discussing last June. Now they're going to do it for the first time ever, and I'm not going to be one of them. I find that rather strangely ironic."

Reghi remains the play-by-play voice of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, and he also keeps busy broadcasting college basketball and football games. He wanted to continue working Orioles games and hoped an agreement could be reached.

"I'd like to express my appreciation and gratitude to the viewers who have allowed me for the last seven years to serve their passion for Orioles baseball and bring it into their homes every day. I thoroughly enjoyed that, as much professionally as anything I've ever done," he said.

"And I'm going to very much miss my associations with Jim Palmer and Buck Martinez because of the day-to-day chemistry we had and our approach to doing the games. Those guys are outstanding analysts, and the fact that we meshed very well is something I take great pride in. And I'm grateful to the production people I was with day in and day out in the trenches, specifically Bill Bell and Chip Winfield."

Numbers game

Being the Orioles' Most Valuable Player doesn't guarantee that you keep the same uniform number, especially when a future Hall of Fame candidate has designs on the one you're wearing.

Jay Gibbons passed along No. 25 to Rafael Palmeiro, who rejoined the Orioles in January as a free agent, and settled on his old college and minor league digits (31) as a replacement.

Gibbons doesn't expect to be compensated by Palmeiro, but he will listen to all offers.

"I just gave it to him, and he insisted on giving me something, so we'll see," Gibbons said, smiling. "A nice watch would be good. We'll call it even."

Said Palmeiro: "Let's not give him any ideas."

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