Palmer worried about being 'distraction'


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Despite some reservations, Jim Palmer seems ready to accept the Orioles' invitation to spring training.

What seemed like a completed deal 24 hours earlier became clouded yesterday, when Palmer admitted to some concerns about the comeback he's been contemplating for two months. "I don't know," he said. "I haven't been able to make up my mind.

"I don't want to be a burden to the club," Palmer said late last night from Atlanta, where he was scheduled to make an appearance today. "I don't want to make Frank Robinson's job any tougher than it always is for a manager during spring training."

Orioles general manager Roland Hemond talked with Palmer last night, and attempted to alleviate those fears. "He's concerned about being a distraction, but I told him if that's all he was worried about to come on down," said Hemond. "Frank is not concerned about it."

Palmer admitted that some of his reservation was caused by his latest workout, three days ago. "I had thrown so much the previous two times that I didn't feel like I had good velocity," he said. "I know the [baseball] world is tuned into the radar gun.

"It's a shame the timing hadn't been a little better," said Palmer. "Ideally I would have liked to have been able to throw to Cal Sr. or Elrod [coaches Cal Ripken and Elrod Hendricks] in Baltimore.

"I wanted to talk to Roland and try to get a more objective opinion. I just don't want to come in there and be a distraction."

Asked if he had considered talking to Robinson by phone, Palmer said: "No, I just think I'll go over there."

After talking to Ron Shapiro, his representative, Palmer said he would call Hemond with a decision today. Asked what his gut feeling was, Palmer said: "I'll probably be there."

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