O's pull beer from post-game beverage list

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Duquette: `We were concerned about the legal ramifications'

Notebook

May 06, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

As Orioles players filled their plates with food and prepared to sit for their post-game meal after Friday night's victory, they were surprised to find that the beer had been removed from the clubhouse. And it's apparently not coming back anytime soon.

Team executives Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette were contemplating the change for a while, but they decided to enforce it five days after St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock died in an alcohol-related accident. The 29-year-old reliever had a blood-alcohol level of 0.157, nearly twice Missouri's legal limit, according to medical examiner Michael Graham.

"We've been talking about it prior to the whole incident," Duquette said. "We were concerned about the legal ramifications that might occur, and obviously, the unfortunate incident brought it back into focus for us. Our feeling was we'd rather error on the side of being cautious.

"Maybe it will be revisited at some other point, but that's the way we feel about it now."

Duquette said the New York Mets banned alcohol from their clubhouse while he was general manager. The Cardinals did it Friday.

"It may not be all that popular, but you have to be sensitive to what could happen if you leave here and you've had too much to drink. We can't afford to put our players in that kind of situation," Duquette said. "If they want to go to a bar on their own time, that's something they choose to do. But I'm not sure we should be providing it ourselves."

Players also are discouraged from bringing alcohol into the clubhouse. "That's certainly not anything we'd want them to do," Duquette said. "But the main thing is we're not going to provide it."

Beer will still be provided in the visiting clubhouse.

Kevin Millar said Orioles players weren't aware that beer no longer was available to them until after Friday's game. They found out on their own.

"Beer's been around in clubhouses for years," Millar said. "It's a place to hang out, talk about the game or whatever. But from a team's liability standpoint, it seems to be only a matter of time until all teams pull that off. But there's more to this story than people know. I don't think Josh was just partying in the clubhouse. He was at a bar or restaurant and left from there, after they offered him a cab.

"You can't argue it. You lost a baseball player recently. But guys do like to sit around. You're talking about grown men. ... But you see their side of it, the liability standpoint. I agree with both sides. But [Friday] was a little strange for guys who like to have a beer. Guys went in to grab one and there was Powerade and water. No one knew."

No timetable for Wright

An examination by renowned orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum didn't reveal any new structural damage to Jaret Wright's right shoulder.

Wright, who returned to the disabled list last week, will rehabilitate in California. The Orioles don't have a timetable for his return.

Meanwhile, reliever Scott Williamson will report to Double-A Bowie tomorrow for another injury rehabilitation appearance. Williamson has pitched twice at Single-A Frederick and once at Single-A Delmarva while recovering from tightness in his right triceps tendon.

"My fastball's coming back and I have a lot better breaking ball," said Williamson, who is eligible to come off the DL Thursday. "My arm felt pretty good."

Burres ready for start

Brian Burres has come a long way with the Orioles, and in a relatively short time.

The left-hander made his major league debut against the New York Yankees on Sept. 8, the night that the Orioles purchased his contract, and served up a two-run homer. Now he's emerged as one of the team's most effective relievers, posting a 1.35 ERA and striking out 15 in 13 1/3 innings.

Burres also has earned his first start, today against the Cleveland Indians, in place of injured Adam Loewen.

"I think it'd be a good opportunity to get out there and start and see how it goes," he said. "But to tell you the truth, any role is the role I'd prefer."

Burres has made 87 starts in the minors, but none among his 17 appearances in the majors. He recently went four innings and figures he could go six today.

"I still felt good after that fourth inning. I felt like I could have gone one or two more if they needed me to," he said. "I think I'd be able to do it."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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