Dear Mr. Baseball:
Cal Ripken has two brothers and a sister. There is a lot of mention of his brother Bill, but where are his sister, Ellen, and his brother Fred?
Dear Paul Hoke:
Your question reminds Mr. Baseball of a recent conversation he had with his own brother, Mr. Wiffle Ball, about the life of being related to a famous person.
Mr. Baseball: "How has it been to grow up in my long shadow?"
Mr. Wiffle Ball: "It's been hard to get a tan."
That Mr. Wiffle Ball, what a funny guy.
But on to your question: Elly is an administrative assistant for a contractor in Towson. She is married and lives in Bel Air. Fred is a motorcycle mechanic. He lives in Havre de Grace with his wife and two children.
Dear Mr. Baseball:
What ever happened to Mark Eichhorn? Is he going to come back later on in the season?
Dear Al Francis:
Technically speaking, that is two questions. But Mr. Baseball will answer anyway.
Eichhorn, a reliable setup man in the Orioles bullpen last season, threw last Thursday for the first time this year. Eichhorn, a right-hander, had surgery Feb. 8 on a torn rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder.
Though Eichhorn spoke of possibly returning in September after a rehabilitation assignment, manager Phil Regan said he isn't expecting to see him pitch in the majors this year.
"If [Eichhorn] comes back at all this year for us, it will be a bonus," Regan said last week.
By the way, the Orioles media guide informs Mr. Baseball that Eichhorn "is an accomplished impressionist" who can imitate John Wayne, Willie Nelson, Julio Iglesias and Popeye. That, of course, was before the injury. Doctors may advise him to drop Popeye, at least during rehab.
Mr. Baseball sympathizes with Eichhorn.
Mr. Baseball once suffered a cuff injury himself, ripping some pants that Mrs. Baseball had altered for him. Though Mr. Baseball eventually recovered, the pants were never the same.