Original lineup takes two more hits, with J. Lopez, Gibbons out

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Stiff neck idles catcher

outfielder is hit on wrist

Notebook

Baseball

March 09, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Is there anyone left in the Orioles' original lineup?

Two more players were lost yesterday, though neither ailment is considered serious. Catcher Javy Lopez was scratched because of neck stiffness, and right fielder Jay Gibbons came out of the game with the Los Angeles Dodgers because of a bruised right wrist.

Gibbons was hit by reliever Eric Knott during the Orioles' eight-run third inning. No X-rays were taken because nothing could break.

Because Gibbons had the hamate bone removed in 2001 - which required another surgery the next year to eliminate two sutures that were pressing on a nerve - the only damage involved some discoloration and swelling.

"It's just going to be sore for a couple of days," Gibbons said. "It scared me. That's a very sensitive area for me."

Gibbons might not be available for a few days.

Lopez started three of the first four games, including the previous two, and was written in yesterday's lineup before manager Lee Mazzilli made the change.

With the Orioles headed to Fort Myers for tomorrow's game with the Boston Red Sox, Mazzilli decided to rest Lopez.

"He could have played, but there was no need to," Mazzilli said. "Sometimes you just want to be careful because you alter things, your throwing and stuff."

Lopez is batting .375 with no extra-base hits or RBIs. He had two passed balls in Saturday's loss to the Florida Marlins.

Groom's spring debut

Reliever Buddy Groom finally made his first spring appearance yesterday, tossing a perfect inning before B.J. Ryan replaced him.

Groom hadn't pitched since complaining of some soreness in his left rib cage. He threw on the side Saturday, but the club maintained a cautious approach.

"It was nothing serious," said Groom, 38. "I was OK when I threw, but who knows when you get out there in a game and adrenaline kicks in."

It's not as if Groom needs a lot of innings to prepare for his 13th season in the majors.

"It's OK if I get them. If I don't, it's not a big deal," he said. "I'd prefer to get them later so you get more focused and ready for the season."

Parrish confident

For once in his professional life, John Parrish arrived at spring training confident that he had a job.

Parrish registered a 1.90 ERA in 14 relief appearances after joining the Orioles from Double-A Bowie on Aug. 15. He was fully recovered from the surgery in 2002 to repair a torn ligament in his right knee, and effective enough to factor into the team's 2004 plans.

"I don't think there's as much competing this year," said Parrish, who threw two scoreless innings yesterday. "If I go out there like I did last year and be consistent and show them I can do the job, I didn't think I'd have a problem. I came into this camp a little less nervous, a little less worried about how things were going to end up. I figured if I stayed focused and kept throwing the ball, I'd be in the bullpen."

Parrish, 26, didn't receive a spring invitation last year, much to his disappointment, but he figures to be the third left-hander in a bullpen that includes Groom and Ryan.

"I'm very happy to be here," he said. "As far as I came after surgery was a surprise to me and everyone else."

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