Orioles first baseman-designated hitter Aubrey Huff is scheduled to undergo sports hernia surgery today that will prevent him from participating in baseball-related activities for six weeks, a club spokesman said. Huff should be ready about the time the Orioles' position players have their first spring training workout Feb. 19 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Club officials said they knew that Huff had felt discomfort in his groin during offseason workouts but hoped he would be able to avoid the surgery, which will be performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.
Huff could miss a few days of camp.
"We're expecting that he'll be able to arrive at spring training and be involved in full activities [in Lauderdale] within a week or so," team president Andy MacPhail said.
Huff, 31, hit .280 with 15 homers and 72 RBIs in 151 games with the Orioles last season, his first in Baltimore.
It has been a difficult offseason for Huff, who upset team officials and fans with a derogatory comment he made about the city of Baltimore and explicit revelations about his personal life during a satellite radio appearance in Tampa, Fla.
Spring site -- The Orioles declined to comment yesterday on published reports that they have signed an option agreement with Indian River County to replace the Los Angeles Dodgers in Vero Beach, Fla., for spring training. The Sun reported earlier that the Orioles were in negotiations with Indian River. Team officials haven't publicly confirmed or denied an interest in relocating to Dodgertown, and they remained mum yesterday after an unnamed source told the Scripps papers, including the Vero Beach Press Journal, that the Orioles had reached an agreement. The Orioles and Fort Lauderdale officials continue to wait for the Federal Aviation Administration to approve construction at the stadium site, which sits on airport land. The Orioles have trained in Fort Lauderdale since 1996 and were prepared to sign a 15-year lease, add fields to the complex and move their minor league camp from Sarasota, Fla., but nothing can be done without FAA approval. The reported option agreement with Indian River County would represent a fallback plan if their deal with Fort Lauderdale crumbles.