FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Though he worked out with the team yesterday, Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston was scratched from the second intrasquad game and later underwent some tests at a local hospital as a follow-up to his physical examination.
Hairston insisted again yesterday that he's bothered by flu-like symptoms, but the Orioles scheduled EKG and stress tests as a precaution.
"Obviously, he's not limited in what he can do," said Jim Beattie, executive vice president of baseball operations. "They just want to get a definition of what's going on. It's not the flu."
Beattie said the Orioles aren't being more cautious this spring after pitcher Steve Bechler's death last year from heatstroke.
"I don't think we're doing anything differently than we've done in the past," he said.
Hairston said he isn't so sure.
"I'm fine," he said. "I know that they're just being overly cautious, which is a good thing. I've felt a little under the weather and that's really about it. Hopefully, I'll be cleared to play [today].
"I just feel like I got sick. I know there's a cold or flu going around. They want to make sure they cover all their bases. I did a lot of training this offseason. I ran an awful lot. I ran on the track for the first time in my life, did a lot of intervals, to the point where I was really exhausted. I don't know if that has an effect on it or not. But without a doubt, this was the hardest offseason I've put my body through."
Brian Roberts also was held out of the game as he continues to receive treatment for back spasms. He ran on one of the back fields but isn't expected to play in today's exhibition opener against the World Series champion Florida Marlins at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.
"I know he wants to play. I understand that," manager Lee Mazzilli said of Roberts. "I just want to be sure. If this was in-season, I wouldn't think about it as much."
The young pitchers dominated yesterday's intrasquad game, which ended in a scoreless tie after four innings.
Left-hander Adam Loewen, the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft, ended the third inning by striking out veteran Clay Bellinger on a changeup after getting ahead with his curveball.
"I thought he had good composure. He threw the ball well. They all did," Mazzilli said.
Daniel Cabrera, who pitched at Single-A Delmarva last year, struck out Jose Bautista and Larry Bigbie looking and retired Miguel Tejada on a fly ball.
Rick Bauer got three ground balls in the first inning. Kurt Ainsworth walked Jack Cust and allowed a single to Darnell McDonald in two innings. Chad Mottola doubled off B.J. Ryan in the fourth, but Walter Young struck out for the second time.
Sidney Ponson will start today's game against Josh Beckett, the 2003 World Series Most Valuable Player. Eric DuBose, John Maine, Brian Forystek, David Crouthers and Mike DeJean also are listed among the available pitchers.
"You want to see the guys do the things that you want them to do during the regular season," Mazzilli said. "You want to see how the players react to certain situations. That's really my concern. Wins and losses are not big down here for me. You'd like to win and it's part of development, but you don't want to put too much credence into that."
Omar Daal will start tomorrow's game against the Marlins in Jupiter, Fla., and Rodrigo Lopez will face the Montreal Expos on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale.
Every player on the Orioles' 40-man roster is under contract for the 2004 season.
Lopez's contract was renewed by the club, and the five remaining players reached agreement on new deals.
DuBose made such a good impression on the Orioles last summer, they were eager to see more of him in 2004.
Instead, there's a lot less of him at spring training.
Trying to improve his chances of making the rotation, DuBose lost 20 pounds during the offseason by hiring a personal trainer and monitoring his diet.
"I worked out a lot. I never was a big workout guy," he said before popping an orange slice in his mouth. "I also watched what I ate. I didn't eat as many snacks. Now, it's easier to get in my delivery without the extra weight. But if I break down, I may go back to tons of fun."