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O's eager Hammonds weighs a rehab road trip to Florida


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Orioles outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, coming off reconstructive knee surgery, said if the strike continues past April 2 -- the day the major-league season is to begin -- he may go to Florida to continue his rehabilitation with team trainers.

"I'm going to stay up here as long as I'm getting my work in," Hammonds said from his New Jersey home yesterday. "But I may need a new challenge, a new atmosphere. I may need a new voice barking at me. Right now, that voice is my father's [Ferdinand Hammonds]."

Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said that he hasn't heard from Hammonds but that the outfielder is welcome -- for rehabilitation work only.

"A player who's on injury rehabilitation could come in and get medical [treatment]," said Hemond. "They can't do their baseball work at camp, but they can get treatment."

Hammonds, who had a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee replaced last Oct. 11, said his rehab has been progressing well, but he is eager to test the joint in a game.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the Orioles' minor-league exhibition schedule was canceled yesterday, because of the team's refusal to play against replacement players. William Murray, who heads the Baseball Operations Committee, reached the decision with Hemond.

"This way," Hemond said, "everybody can figure out how they're going to fill out their schedule."

Orioles minor-leaguers will play intrasquad games. On those dates that the Orioles hold at Al Lang Stadium, the Triple-A players will play host to a Double-A or Single-A club.

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