Majewski reports early, says shoulder `100 percent'

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

He suffered torn labrum in Sept., ending his season

Baseball

February 22, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles outfielder Val Majewski, who didn't play after Sept. 8 because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder, reported to camp early and has been cleared to hit. Any worries he had about the injury seem to be getting smaller.

They're probably the same size as his chances of making the team, despite being named the organization's minor league Player of the Year in 2004.

"I know it's very slim," he said. "I'm not setting any expectations right now. I'll just do what I can and see what happens. I'm just taking it all in, realizing the opportunity that I have."

Of greater importance to Majewski, 23, is the condition of his shoulder, which ended his season after nine games with the Orioles. He batted .154 with one RBI after a surprising call-up in August.

Majewski already rated as one of the Orioles' top position pros- pects before hitting .307 with 15 homers and 80 RBIs in 112 games at Bowie. A third-round draft pick in 2002, he would have been given a longer look in the majors if not for the tear, which didn't require surgery.

The Orioles sent him to the minor league camp in Sarasota, Fla., in October and he kept up with the program after leaving.

"I worked hard in the offseason to make sure I was ready physically," he said. "I took good care of all my arm stuff and I feel fine, great. I feel like I'm 100 percent now."

Early arrivals

More position players trickled into camp ahead of schedule yesterday, including outfielders Larry Bigbie, David Newhan and Tim Raines Jr., first baseman Jay Gibbons and second baseman Brian Roberts.

Team officials aren't sure whether Sammy Sosa will arrive in camp tomorrow or wait until Thursday's first full-squad workout. Manager Lee Mazzilli doesn't expect Sosa to bring along any baggage from his final season with the Chicago Cubs, when he clashed with manager Dusty Baker and left the last game after the first inning.

"Coming here, it's a clean slate. That's the only way you've got to do it," Mazzilli said. "I don't see anything negative in this at all. He's going to take it up a notch for us.

"I've called some people about Sammy, and I've gotten nothing but good things."

Julio gets MRI exam

Reliever Jorge Julio underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test on his right forearm yesterday, but the results weren't available before today.

The Orioles shut down Julio after Sunday's workout, but mostly as a precaution. He complained of some stiffness in his forearm while pitching in Venezuela, and the club wasn't going to take any chances.

"I feel good right now," he said. "I threw yesterday and I felt fine. It's OK."

Mazzilli said the club would wait "a day or so" before putting Julio back on a mound.

Julio was 22-for-26 in save chances last season before B.J. Ryan began to audition for the closer's role. Julio could regain the job, move into a set-up role or be traded.

"Whatever job they give me," he said, "it's good for me."

New caps

The Orioles are wearing a new cap for spring training, one they'll later use on Fridays during the season.

The black cap includes an orange bill and O's logo instead of the familiar bird.

One pitcher joked he'd rather be fined than wear it during the season. But overall, it seems to be getting better reviews than the one-size-fits-all, mesh model the team had worn in spring training.

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