Oates, Hemond consider player moves


CLEVELAND -- Manager John Oates will meet with general manager Roland Hemond today to go over a list of possible player personnel moves that could have a dramatic effect on the makeup of the club.

"We've got some decisions to make over the next three or four days," Oates said. "We might as well do a little planning right now."

Here's a quick look at the issues that will be discussed:

* Should Ben McDonald be brought back to the major leagues, even though he has not pitched well in his two injury-rehabilitation starts for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings?

* Will right fielder Dwight Evans be ready to return to action when he becomes eligible to leave the disabled list Saturday?

* What will the future hold for third baseman Craig Worthington, whose 20-day injury rehabilitation assignment at Rochester ends this weekend?

* Will right-hander Dave Johnson be sent to the minor leagues on a similar assignment?

* Will Bush keep Quayle on the 1992 ticket?

Well, at least some of those issues will be discussed. Hemond doesn't like to comment on politics.

McDonald presents the most troubling question. He apparently irritated the middle finger of his pitching hand throwing the high-seamed minor-league baseball in Wednesday night's start against the Class AAA Syracuse Chiefs, leaving room to wonder whether further rehab work should be done under major-league supervision.

"There was some discussion on Ben today," Oates said. "But we haven't seen him, and we've gotten conflicting reports on whether it's a blister or not. We told him if he felt anything to shut it down, so it could be just a hot spot."

McDonald tentatively was scheduled to pitch against the Detroi Tigers on Monday night, but he did not pitch well in either of his minor-league starts. Oates said he would not speculate on the situation until after the meeting today.

Evans appears to be close to returning from a strained Achilles' tendon and has expressed his desire to play against the Boston Red Sox this weekend, so the club will have to discuss a reciprocal move to make room for him on the roster.

Worthington will have to be recalled or optioned to Rocheste when his 20-day rehabilitation period expires Sunday. With roster space at a minimum, he may have to remain in the minor leagues until he's needed or a trade can be arranged.

"I know he still has an option and he's not a player who can refuse an optional assignment," Oates said.

Oates wouldn't say whether that's the direction the club is leaning, but he already has said that Leo Gomez is the everyday third baseman.

Johnson's recovery from an injured groin muscle has progressed to the point where he also could be sent to the minor leagues to get some work.

"He's been very receptive to the idea of making a couple of starts in the minor leagues on a rehab assignment," Oates said.

Johnson threw three innings in simulated action yesterday and reported no problems with either his arm or the inflamed groin muscle.

"It went fine," he said. "I threw all my pitches and felt good. I'd like to be able to step right in and pitch up here, but I can see where it might be beneficial to go down and face some live hitting."

The potential exists for a significant roster turnover during the next couple of weeks, which could make things tense in some corners of the Orioles clubhouse.

"I know there are going to be some guys who realize that they are on the bubble," Oates said. "I spent 10 years as a fringe player. Every time there was a roster move, I thought it was going to be me."

Ballard not hurting

Oates met with left-hander Jeff Ballard yesterday to check on his physical condition after Wednesday night's 10-run shelling, but was assured that there is nothing wrong.

"He's fine," Oates said. "We talked for a long time. He pointed out something, and I have to agree with him. If you were throwing batting practice and trying to let them hit it, chances are they couldn't hit eight straight balls where no one could catch them. He just didn't have his good velocity last night."

Orioles sign fifth pick

The Orioles announced yesterday that they have signed their No. 5 draft choice, left-handed hitting outfielder Jim Wawruck, a 21-year-old out of the University of Vermont. The club has signed nine of its top 10 picks, the only exception being No. 1 pick Mark Smith of Southern Cal.

Lights out

Last night's game was delayed when Cleveland Stadium was struck with a partial power failure. It took about 15 minutes to get the lights warmed up again so that the game could begin.

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