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Pain-free McDonald encouraged


Ben McDonald, disabled last week by a sore right shoulder, threw off a mound pain-free for eight minutes yesterday, and manager Phil Regan thinks McDonald may start the final game before the All-Star break, in Chicago July 9.

"I feel great," said McDonald, who will go through two more bullpen workouts and perhaps a simulated game or minor-league rehabilitation stint. "A lot of it depends on how I feel as I go along," he said, "but those are the plans right now."

Dr. James Andrews, a noted sports surgeon who performed Jeffrey Hammonds' knee reconstruction, diagnosed McDonald Tuesday with a case of tendinitis. "He said he's seen a lot of that this year," said McDonald, adding that Andrews specifically mentioned the shortened spring as the reason for the injuries.

McDonald acknowledged that he worried his injury was serious, particularly when his arm hurt badly as he tried playing catch with Bret Barberie last Friday. "I think that any time it's your

career," McDonald said, "you always think the worst."

Hemonds rules out grievance

Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said he would not file a grievance against the Philadelphia Phillies for trading damaged goods -- reliever Gene Harris, placed on the disabled list with a bad elbow the week after the Orioles acquired him for Andy Van Slyke.

"I've known he's had a background of arm problems," said Hemond. "You take a chance. I've taken a lot of guys who've had arm problems in the past, and they do a job for you. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."

Harris was to be examined by Andrews in Alabama yesterday, but Hemond had not heard the results before last night's game.

Benitez's wait irks Regan

Regan said he was sure that Armando Benitez would emerge from the clubhouse in Milwaukee's County Stadium Wednesday evening, when Benitez refused to wear the tacky clothes bought for him in the annual rookies' rite of passage.

"But," Regan said, "we weren't going to wait much longer."

Benitez sat in the clubhouse until Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Alexander, pitching coach Mike Flanagan and traveling secretary Phil Itzoe convinced him to come along. Benitez finally walked to the team bus in dress socks, baseball pants and a white dress shirt. The episode delayed the club's departure for Toronto by 15 minutes.

"It's so much easier to just go along with it than to resist it," said Regan, who planned to talk to Benitez last night about the incident. "If you laugh about it, everybody forgets about it. He resisted, and nobody's forgotten about it today.

"I like the way it was handled [by Palmeiro and Alexander]. The players handled it, and we didn't do anything about it."

Regan says Benitez could learn from what happened.

"There comes a point in time," Regan said, "when you can't continue to challenge clubs and give ultimatums. You've got to realize . . . that you need to start conforming. . . . It's about a team, not an individual."

Manto update

Third baseman Jeff Manto, out with a pulled left hamstring, may begin taking batting practice again this weekend. When Manto comes back after the All-Star break, Regan said, he will be the third baseman. "I don't think you ought to lose your job to an injury," Regan said.

Leo Gomez is 1-for-12 with five walks since taking over for Manto at third.

Around the horn

Pitcher Kevin Brown, out since a line drive dislocated his right index finger at the top knuckle, played long toss yesterday and has regained much flexibility in the joint. But he'll probably still be out another three weeks or so. . . . During his rehabilitation in Baltimore, McDonald often trained alongside reliever Mark Eichhorn, who is coming back from rotator cuff surgery. McDonald said Eichhorn could start throwing soon, for the first time since his February operation. "His arm strength has really improved," McDonald said. . . . Catcher Matt Nokes, released by the Orioles June 19, signed a minor-league contract with the Colorado Rockies.

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