Mora has minor shoulder surgery, should be ready for spring training


November 13, 2008|By Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec | Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec and, and

Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora underwent a minor surgical procedure near his right shoulder late last week and said, "I am fine now."

Team orthopedist John Wilckens removed a tiny, arthritic section of Mora's distal clavicle, which is part of the AC joint in his right shoulder.

He has been instructed not to lift weights until around Jan. 1, but otherwise he should have no problem being ready for the start of spring training.

"It was very minor, and we don't anticipate it having any impact on his availability whatsoever," club president Andy MacPhail said.

Mora, 36, believes he first injured the shoulder last spring training while diving for a ball. It continually nagged him throughout the season, and he received a cortisone shot at the All-Star break to relieve the pain.

It apparently worked. He batted .376 in the second half after hitting .233 before the break. Still, Mora said he felt nagging discomfort at the end of the season and was told by doctors to have the section removed if it continued in the offseason.

Doctors said the procedure should alleviate Mora's pain.

"I don't worry. It's no big deal," Mora said. "It was just a little thing, a little piece of bone. ... I am fine."

Contract talks slow

Nick Markakis acknowledged that his agent, Jamie Murphy, has been talking "back and forth" with MacPhail about a contract extension on his behalf. However, Markakis, the team's star right fielder, who is eligible for arbitration this offseason, said the two sides have taken only "baby steps."

"It's real slow right now," Markakis said. "It's been a slow-moving process."

Asked whether he would like the negotiations to move faster, Markakis said: "It doesn't matter to me whether it's done fast or slow. I just want it done right."

MacPhail backed Markakis' assessment, saying: "I would say we're still in the opening stages. It's one of those things where if the two parties are motivated to do something, you generally find a common ground. We'll see. We're still talking in terms of length and duration. We haven't thrown any numbers around."

MacPhail conceded that discussions with Markakis are further along than the club's extension talks with Brian Roberts, who will be a free agent after the 2009 season. The Orioles have informed Roberts' representation that they would like to discuss a long-term deal with the second baseman but have not talked specifics. Roberts was traveling and unable to attend yesterday's rally.

Sherrill or Ray?

Orioles closer George Sherrill, who saved 31 games this past season but none after Aug. 5, said he still isn't sure whether he or Chris Ray will be closing games for the Orioles in 2009. But one thing he is certain of - he hopes manager Dave Trembley chooses one or the other.

"The closer-by-committee thing doesn't work," Sherrill said. "Whether Ray does it or I do, it's going to be a really good closer and it's going to be a really good bullpen. I think our bullpen is going to be one of our strengths next year no matter who is in the closer's role. Obviously, I'd like it to be me, but if it's not, I'll set up Ray-Ray with pride."

Injury update

Sherrill, who struggled with a shoulder injury the second half of the year, said he has felt no pain in his throwing arm, but he won't begin playing catch until January.

Wilckens met with Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera in the Dominican Republic this month and said the pitcher's sprained right elbow seems to be healed. Mike Powers, Cabrera's agent, said the pitcher hasn't begun baseball activities yet but would like to pitch in the Dominican Republic by December or January.

Dennis Sarfate, who underwent surgery six weeks ago to repair a fractured right clavicle, has full range of motion back. He will visit Los Angeles Angels physician Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed the surgery, next week and is hoping to begin throwing again in mid-December. He said he expects to be ready for the start of spring training.

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