As season dwindles, so does roster


DETROIT -- Despite the expanded roster, a growing list of injured players has left the Orioles facing a possible manpower shortage.

Right-hander reliever Todd Frohwirth became the latest player to be shelved with an injury. He is suffering from a "tired" intercostal muscle in his right side and almost certainly will not pitch during the final four games of the season.

"I'm going to rest it until it feels better," said Frohwirth, who has not pitched since Saturday. "They say that I won't blow it out by pitching, but they say that it might get worse."

Manager Johnny Oates now is working with a bullpen that is without Frohwirth and right-hander Alan Mills, who has been sidelined with a sore elbow for the past few weeks.

"I mentioned that to Boz [pitching coach Dick Bosman] the other day," Oates said. "We're short of people out there. But the timing is good. We don't have to save any pitching for next week."

Gomez goes home

Third baseman Leo Gomez, who was scheduled to rejoin the team after his injured shoulder was examined, will not come back. He has returned home to Puerto Rico and will spend the next several months on an exercise program.

"He went to the Bennett Institute to get an exercise program," Oates said. "It will be an ongoing thing to help him get ready for spring training."

Gomez's right shoulder popped out of joint early in Monday night's home finale. The injury is similar to the one that prevented him from being recalled from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings two years ago.

Oates said surgery to tighten the joint was considered, but the recovery period would be at least six months. Doctors apparently felt a strengthening program could produce the same result, so Gomez will spend the winter rehabilitating instead of playing winter baseball in Puerto Rico.

Milligan will return

Randy Milligan apparently will play in two of the final four games, though he has a painfully sprained finger on his right hand.

Milligan injured the ring finger sliding into third base Monday night, not the thumb as previously reported by the club. The finger is badly swollen and tightly taped, but Milligan said that he expects to be able play against Cleveland Indians left-hander Dennis Cook tonight and left-hander Alan Embree on Saturday.

Oates rebuffs contract talk

Oates is signed through next year, so he did not have much to say when a reporter asked him if the club had talked to him about a contract extension.

"There doesn't need to be any talk," he said. "I'm signed through next year. Everybody wants security, but if I do my job right, I'll have it, and if I don't, I don't deserve to have it. I feel the club has treated me fairly"

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