Sorting out aches and pains a part of Roberts' regimen

Orioles notebook

Lopez, Gibbons return

team waits on Matos' scan

March 11, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts soaked in a whirlpool yesterday, only his head visible above the water, while his teammates ate breakfast and dressed for the workout. It's become part of his morning routine. Some players drink coffee and read the local paper. Roberts tries to remove the aches from his body.

Roberts missed his second consecutive game because of soreness in his left groin that's unrelated to the back stiffness that kept him out of the opener. He's not expected to make today's trip to Fort Myers, where the Orioles play the Boston Red Sox.

"It's feeling better," he said. "It'll probably be another day, just to be safe."

The discomfort surfaced on Monday after Roberts returned to his condo. He had two hits in the game, including a triple, and attempted to steal a base.

Catcher Javy Lopez (neck stiffness) and right fielder Jay Gibbons (bruised wrist) returned to the lineup yesterday, but the Orioles still had no news regarding center fielder Luis Matos, who missed another game with discomfort in his right shin that could be related to a stress fracture.

The Orioles sent Matos' CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging results to their physicians in Baltimore, but the bone scan still hadn't arrived yesterday. The club is listing the injury as shinsplints, but a stress fracture hasn't been ruled out.

Matos hit on the field yesterday, did some throwing and rode a stationary bike, but he's not allowed to run.

"I just want to know what it is," he said.

Stronger showing for Daal

In need of a strong outing as he vies for a spot in the rotation, left-hander Omar Daal didn't allow a run over three innings before the Orioles' bullpen imploded.

Daal walked the game's first batter, Abraham Nunez, but Damion Easley grounded into a double play. Miguel Cabrera led off the second with a single before Daal retired the next three batters, and a one-out single by Wilson Valdez in the third was erased by another double play.

Better able to locate his fastball, Daal was sharper than his March 5 debut, when he surrendered four runs and seven hits in two innings against the Florida Marlins.

"I felt much better today," he said. "I wasn't missing too much. When I tried to go inside, I could, and I kept the ball down more today. I made the right pitches at the right time. Last time I was a little bit nervous, my first time out there in six months. Today I was more aggressive and more relaxed."

Stahl gets a call

The last thing Richard Stahl anticipated was being pulled from the Orioles' minor league camp and redirected to Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

Most pitchers who go 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA at a low Single-A affiliate don't mingle with major league players. They don't get special attention or privileges.

"I wasn't expecting it," he said, "but I'm glad to get the opportunity."

The Orioles wanted Stahl and Jeff Montani, teammates with the Delmarva Shorebirds, as insurance in case a pitcher got hurt during an exhibition game or couldn't escape a long inning. When Adam Loewen was removed yesterday after walking four batters in the sixth, Stahl got his chance. He worked the eighth, allowing one run on three walks and an infield hit.

Injuries have kept Stahl from meeting his vast potential. Most recently, he underwent surgery in 2001 to remove a bone spur and shrink his left shoulder capsule, and he was shut down in 2002 because of tendinitis.

"You can never be prepared for an injury," he said, "but maybe in the long run it will benefit me. I've learned a lot."

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