TORONTO -- Right-hander Ben McDonald worked out in the bullpen before yesterday's game and apparently cleared up any doubts about the bruised heel he suffered in his start on Thursday night. But the problems he has experience on the mound remain a matter of concern.
"He spent quite a lot of time in the bullpen with our pitching coach," manager Johnny Oates said. "They worked and talked and worked some more. I'm sure there was a lot of talk about mental process."
McDonald gave up four home runs in a four-inning performance in the Orioles' 10-8 loss in the series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays. He took a line drive off his heel in that game and had X-rays on Friday, but said that the injury was not the reason for his poor performance.
The workout was intended to try and get McDonald moving -- and thinking -- in the right direction. He was in the bullpen with Dick Bosman for at least a half-hour, but actually threw the ball for only 10-15 minutes.
"Today, there was a lot of talking and a lot of constructive criticism," Oates said, "but it ended on an upbeat nature. That's the way you have to do it. You want him to leave the [workout] with a good taste in his mouth."
Rhodes on the ropes
Left-hander Arthur Rhodes is scheduled to pitch today for his sixth start of the season, and pressure has to be building on him to turn in a solid performance.
Rhodes has not given up fewer than four runs in any of his first five starts, and he lasted just 3 2/3 innings in Tuesday night's loss to the Minnesota Twins.
Someone asked Oates if the time might be right for another pitch-well-or-else speech like the one that seemed to straighten out Rhodes last year, but he said that the situation is not the same.
"Last year, we told him to throw strikes, or we'd get somebody who could," Oates said. "He's throwing strikes. He may be throwing too many strikes. Now, it's a matter of learning how to pitch."
The same apparently goes for McDonald. Oates said that the club has no choice but to be patient with both, because the Orioles do not have any viable alternatives.
What's with Brady?
Left fielder Brady Anderson was the most consistent hitter on the team in April, but he has struggled during the past week. He entered yesterday's game in a 1-for-20 slump and went hitless (with two walks) in three at-bats.
So what's wrong? It might have something to do with the flu he has had all week, but his batting average has been in a state of free fall since April 24, when he had two hits to raise it to .355. Since then, Anderson has seven hits in 56 at-bats for a .125 average.
Devereaux slightly improved
It has been one week since Mike Devereaux sprained a sternoclavicular joint diving for a ball at Camden Yards, and he says that he is feeling a little better.
"The soreness is getting more centralized," he said. "At first, I couldn't tell exactly where the pain was coming from. Now I can feel it in individual spots. I think that means it's getting better."
Devereaux says he is trying to stay in shape as best he can. He is riding the stationary bike and hopes to be running in another week, though everything depends on how he feels at the time.
The home runs by White and Randy Knorr were the sixth and seventh for the Blue Jays in three games against the Orioles. A year ago the Blue Jays hit 12 in the 13 games between the teams. . . . The Blue Jays have had an 8-5 record against the Orioles for each of the past three years. They have lost the season series at home to the Orioles only once (2-5 in 1986) in the past 10 years.