Hendricks might have had stroke


Longtime bullpen coach hospitalized in Florida after taking ill Thursday

April 16, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

A constant presence at Orioles games for a club-record 37 seasons, bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks remained at a St. Petersburg, Fla., hospital last night after becoming ill following Thursday night's loss at Tropicana Field.

A team official said Hendricks, 64, complained of numbness and weakness on his left side and dizziness after dressing for the return flight to Baltimore. He never made it to the bus that transported the Orioles to the airport, and it's believed he suffered a mild stroke.

Head trainer Richie Bancells accompanied Hendricks to the hospital, where he was admitted for observation and tests. Bancells rejoined the club last night, but it's uncertain when Hendricks will be discharged.

Executives Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan turned down a request to meet with reporters before last night's game at Oriole Park, and the media weren't allowed to talk with team physician Dr. William Goldiner.

"Our reports right now are good," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "He's a little dizzy, so for precautionary reasons, he's going to get some tests done. So far, from what we know, everything is OK.

"He's a special person to me, for sure. It's just going to be a temporary thing just for a day or so and we'll see how things are."

Reliever Steve Reed noticed that Hendricks became quiet in the bullpen during the last two innings of the game, which is unusual for the gregarious coach.

"He was just sitting there, not moving or anything," Reed said. "I was getting on him like, `Hey, how are you feeling?' I've had this little cold going, too, and I was kidding him about he and I being old. But nothing that would spark any of our interest in him being in danger or anything.

"He wasn't falling over or slurring his speech. ... He's probably like all of us. Something's wrong and you're like, `I'm all right. I'm all right.'

"Thank goodness that he went into the trainer's room and it happened when it did, so that he didn't go on the plane. It could have been so much worse."

Hendricks was found to have prostate cancer a few years ago and continues to take medication. He also has been bothered by a cold in recent days.

"We know he hasn't been feeling good, but there have been so many guys in there who haven't been feeling good," said Reed, who was updated on Hendricks' condition during a 4:45 p.m. team meeting. "We were all really surprised by this."

Kline seeks closure

Steve Kline made his return to Camden Yards last night after the reliever created a small controversy in Baltimore with comments that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggesting that he regretted signing with the Orioles.

"I didn't want to start my car up last night," he said jokingly. "I was afraid."

Kline wants the incident to go away, but he knows it could take some time for fans to forgive him.

"What I did was a mistake," he said. "Let it die. That's my goal. Let them boo me, yell at me, scream at me. Hopefully it will die away.

"There's always two sides to the story. Some people are just going to yell and scream at me, and I deserve it."

The Orioles held a pre-game meeting Wednesday at Tropicana Field so Kline could explain his remarks and apologize to teammates if they were offended.

Frustrated with his poor start - he twice surrendered three-run homers that led to defeats - Kline recorded his first win as an Oriole on Wednesday by striking out Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff and stranding two runners. He began last night with a 20.25 ERA.

"I have to go out and do my job. That's what I'm here to do," he said. "I can apologize all I want, but until you go out and do the job, they're not going to accept it. I'm just going to go out there and pitch and take a big brunt of it on my shoulders.

"I feel more bad for my family than I do myself because I deserve what I may get."

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