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Virus likely to sideline Mussina tonightMike Mussina...


Virus likely to sideline Mussina tonight

Mike Mussina is likely to be scratched from his scheduled start tonight in Seattle because of a stomach virus.

The Orioles right-hander (5-1, 2.70 ERA) had a 102-degree fever during the weekend and "it's proba-bly 98 percent" Jose Mesa will start tonight, said manager Johnny Oates.

"Mike's not doing too well, and it might be better if he rests," Oates said. "He's been sweating a lot and he's dehydrated, lost a lot of fluids."

There initially was doubt whether Mussina would accompany the team to the West Coast, but he told Oates he wanted to go.

"We'll re-evaluate him as we go along and wait until we decide on Tuesday's pitcher," said Oates.

If Mussina is unable to go in the second game against the Mariners, Ben McDonald could be moved up a day or Rick Sutcliffe could come back after lasting only 2 2/3 innings Saturday night against the Angels.

Oates practically dismissed the idea of a spot start for Storm Davis because it would leave the team short in the bullpen.

Alan Mills went 4 2/3 innings and 66 pitches in relief of Sutcliffe on Saturday night, and if Davis starts, the Orioles could be left with three relievers for a game.

"And I don't contemplate bringing somebody in [from the minors] for just one day," said Oates. Angels coach Marcel Lachemann was ejected by plate umpire Derryl Cousins in the eighth inning yesterday for arguing balls and strikes.

And Bert Blyleven, who was on the mound at the time, had a few things to say about it.

"It's a shame a guy like Cal Ripken has a different strike zone than other guys," said Blyleven. "I'm sorry, but that second pitch was right there. It's like they want you to say, 'Here, Cal, hit it.

"I think the umpires base their strike zone on who's up there. It shouldn't be like that, but sometimes they do.

"We're trying out there just as hard as Cal Ripken. Just because he's got a name in this area doesn't mean his strike zone should be two inches wide."

After his first relief outing since June 10, 1984, Blyleven said the disagreement was "probably something that was brewing for a while."

Rodgers undergoes surgery

Angels manager Buck Rodgers underwent surgery on his left knee and right elbow yesterday at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, Calif.

Doctors Lewis Yocum, Robert Chandler and Bill Montgomery said after six hours of surgery that Rodgers is to put "no weight on the knee for two months. There was extensive damage to the elbow."

The surgeons placed two screws in the knee, and "quite a bit more in the elbow -- plates, several screws, and wire," Yocum said.

They will re-evaluate in a few days to determine how long the elbow will require to recover from the injuries suffered in the team's bus accident on the New Jersey Turnpike early Thursday morning.

The physicians said Rodgers will remain in the hospital for at least "the next three or four days."

Dempsey's delis

Rick Dempsey is getting into the food business.

In partnership with Alvin Blank, a local businessman, the Orioles coach plans to open a string of "something like Italian delis" in the Baltimore-Washington area.

"We'll have 24 different pizzas, sandwiches and salads," Dempsey said of the chain, called Rick Dempsey's Signature Pizzas and Deli. "The first one is due to open June 6 at Taylor and Loch Raven, and we're thinking of Washington, Ocean City and a couple of other spots."

Draft day approaches

The Orioles have the fourth pick overall in the 1992 free agent draft, which begins a week from today.

The Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Montreal Expos pick ahead of the Orioles, based on reverse order of finish in the respective major leagues last season. The National League picks first in even-numbered years.

The last time the Orioles had the fourth pick (1988), they chose Gregg Olson of Auburn. In three of the past four years, their first choice has been a right-handed pitcher, and each is with the parent club (McDonald, Olson and Mussina).

'Marathon Day' tickets

Tickets are on sale for the first Maryland Marathon Baseball Day, June 6.

Fans can see home games for the Double-A Hagerstown Suns at 11:05 a.m., the Single-A Frederick Keys at 2:35 p.m. and the Orioles at 7:05 p.m.

Call (800) 831-0700 for information.

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