Worthington due to come off DL todayMINNEAPOLIS...


Worthington due to come off DL today

MINNEAPOLIS -- Third baseman Craig Worthington is expected to come off the 15-day disabled list today, but club officials have not decided who will be moved off the active roster to make room for him.

Worthington, who has been on the disabled list since May 20 with a strained hamstring, could be in the starting lineup tonight when the Baltimore Orioles open a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Memorial Stadium.

Someone figures to replace him on the disabled list, probably utility man Jeff McKnight, who jammed his left hand running into the fence on Monday night at the Metrodome. X-rays showed no fracture, but McKnight was available only to pinch run.

"Worthy probably will be activated," manager John Oates said, "but we'll wait until we get back and have our doctors look at some people before we make any decisions. It's big day for us."

Second baseman Bill Ripken has been in and out of the lineup because of persistent back soreness, but he seemed to think that he would not be a candidate for the disabled list.

"No chance whatsoever," Ripken said.

Four players are scheduled to be examined today, including Ripken and McKnight. Pitcher Dave Johnson will have his groin injury re-evaluated, and Ben McDonald will undergo a bio-mechanical study to determine whether his pitching mechanics are contributing to the elbow soreness that has bothered him since spring training.

"We want to make sure that Ben has not altered his motion to compensate for his elbow," Oates said.

Johnson has suffered a setback in his recovery from a deeply strained groin muscle and probably won't come off the disabled list for at least two more weeks.

Olson apologizes for gesture

Relief pitcher Gregg Olson apologized to Oates yesterday for the obscene gesture he made toward a television camera after Tuesday night's loss to the Twins.

Olson already has publicly apologized to viewers he might have offended with the gesture, which was a display of frustration after a tough defeat.

"Gregg is a nice, sincere, sensitive person," Oates said. "What he did last night, no one feels worse about than him.

"It's very important that guys control their emotions, but Gregg is so competitive and so wrapped up in the game when he pitches. He doesn't think anyone should ever get on base against him."

Olson said he just wanted the incident to be forgotten.

"I woke up [yesterday] and immediately thought, 'Oh, no, I didn't really do that, did I?,' " he said.

Ripken redux

Cal Ripken singled in his first at-bat last night, temporarily raising his league-leading batting average to a season-high .363. According to the Orioles research department, he is the first Orioles hitter to lead the league in hitting this late into the season since Ken Singleton had a .337 average on Aug. 25, 1981. He entered the game with the highest average for an Oriole this late into any of the club's 38 seasons.


The Orioles ended their participation in the June free-agent draft after 48 rounds. . . . The Orioles will hold 2 promotional nights this weekend, giving away floppy hats to adults (21 and over) on Friday night and baseball gloves to kids (14 and under) on Saturday night. . . . Orioles wives will conduct a "Paint Your Dad's T-Shirt" benefit at White Marsh Mall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Proceeds go to The Caring Program.

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