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Higuera puts off O's workouts


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ted Higuera, who was impressive in two workouts for the Orioles and who told manager Phil Regan he would return to training camp, has changed his mind.

Higuera's agent told Regan yesterday that the pitcher is uncomfortable with the idea of working out with the Orioles during the players strike, and would remain in Mexico until a labor agreement is reached.

Regan said he hopes Higuera changes his mind again. "It would be a great chance for him to work with us," Regan said. "Plus, he'd be that much farther ahead . . . when the season did start."

Regan was somewhat perplexed by Higuera's discomfort with working during the strike, because the Orioles aren't playing in replacement games, and Higuera would be training without a contract, and only with minor-leaguers.

Higuera's change of heart, however, "doesn't dim" Regan's interest.

"But if he were to come in," Regan said, "he could be ready by Opening Day. If he were to wait until the strike is over, he would only have about three weeks to get in shape, which is only going to hurt him."

Higuera, 36, is coming back from shoulder surgery.

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