Unable to swing, B. Ripken expected to be sidelined for several weeks


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A decision won't be made until today, but it's almost a certainty that the Orioles will place Bill Ripken on the disabled list.

The second baseman has been in intense pain since suffering a rib cage injury, believed to have been sustained while turning a double play Sunday in Oakland.

"The doctor got here during the game [last night] and I didn't talk to him, and I haven't talked to the trainers or Billy," said manager John Oates. "We're going to talk about it on the plane [en route to Kansas City] and make a decision in the morning."

However, Ripken cannot swing a bat without severe pain and it's highly likely he'll be out for a couple of weeks.

There was no immediate indication who would replace Ripken on the roster if he goes on the DL.

* ON THE POSITIVE SIDE: David Segui was moving around much better after last night's game than he was when he left the field after spraining his right ankle in the second inning last night.

Precautionary X-rays were negative and Segui didn't think the injury would keep him on the sidelines very long.

* DAVIS UPDATE: For the first time since going on the disabled list with a rare neck and shoulder injury, Glenn Davis is very upbeat about his return to the lineup.

The first baseman has said he could return in between two and four weeks, depending on his continued progress. He has informed Oates that he thinks it would be good for him to go on a rehabilitation assignment before getting back into the lineup.

That's good news on two fronts -- for the Orioles, and for the farm team that gets the benefit of Davis' bat and gate appeal.

* NO. 1 PICK IN ATTENDANCE: Mark Smith, the outfielder the Orioles took as the ninth selection in last month's amateur draft, was a spectator at last night's game.

It appears that negotiations have finally gotten under way with Smith. "We've reached the point where we've started to talk," said John Cox, the Orioles' West Coast scouting supervisor.

Negotiations with the top 12 players selected have been bogged down as agents jockey for position and get their clients lined up like dominoes. Everyone is waiting for the top picks to sign, so the dollar spinoff stays in order.

* Bob Milacki, whose hand injury Saturday started the chain of events that ended in a four-man no-hitter against Oakland, pitched off the mound without pain yesterday. Oates said he passed the test "with flying colors."

He is expected to pitch the second game of the Royals series tomorrow night.

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