Shoulder haunting McDonald


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Orioles pitcher Ben McDonald, who came off the disabled list last week, returned to Baltimore yesterday to have his shoulder examined again after suffering more stiffness in the same spot.

McDonald will be examined at 4 p.m. today by team doctor Michael Jacobs, and at the least, the Orioles are expected to skip him in the rotation last week.

McDonald said he wasn't nervous about the recurring injury. "I'm aggravated, more than anything," he said, "because I thought this was over. Aggravated, yes. Frustrated, yes. I'm just going to wait and see what he says and go from there.

"I don't know what to make out of it because I thought I was totally over it. Obviously, I'm not."

McDonald suffered from soreness in the back of his shoulder in mid-June, and was placed on the disabled list June 22. He was later found to have a mild case of tendinitis, and appeared ready to come back the last day before the All-Star break, but suffered a setback that delayed his return to July 14. McDonald said yesterday the pain in his shoulder was similar to that setback.

The right-hander lasted just 2 2/3 innings Wednesday night in Minnesota, and began to feel pain Thursday. He called Orioles trainer Richie Bancells from the team hotel early yesterday afternoon, and Bancells made arrangements for him to see Jacobs.

If McDonald cannot pitch the next time the Orioles will require a fifth starter, on July 29, left-hander Arthur Rhodes likely will replace him. The Orioles' opponent that day is Chicago, a team notably weak against left-handers this year.

Trade talk update

A game of chicken has developed in the Orioles' talks with the Mets about Bobby Bonilla. The Mets say they want Orioles minor-leaguer Alex Ochoa, and the Orioles say they won't deal Ochoa. It's as if the Orioles are waiting to see if the Mets will relent, to unload Bonilla's $4.5 million salary for next year. The Mets, on the other hand, are waiting to see if the Orioles' need for an injection of offense, which has grown acute in recent days, will force them to move Ochoa.

Both sides seem to be digging in. A source within the Mets organization said that during a conference call yesterday, New York executives reiterated they would not take a second-line prospect from the Orioles. One Orioles official said there is "no way" the Orioles would include Ochoa.

In the meantime, the Orioles are making other inquiries, although no serious talks have developed. For instance, they've called the Toronto Blue Jays about left fielder Joe Carter, who will make a whopping $6.5 million in 1996. But the Blue Jays may not be ready to deal yet, because they are crawling back into the AL East race.

Batting tip for Goodwin

Manager Phil Regan acknowledged that the Orioles coaching staff has talked to rookie center fielder Curtis Goodwin about bunting

more, something he's gotten away from in the last week. "It looks to me like he's swinging a little bit too hard," Regan said. "He's trying to drive the ball, rather than just hit the ball."

Batting tip for Ochoa

Regan said that he'd like Ochoa to play winter ball and work on hitting breaking pitches. "Ochoa is going to have to hit for power, and drive in runs to play," said Regan, adding that there was a chance Ochoa could be in the majors next year. . . . Before the game, the Kansas City Royals announced they had acquired left-handed pitchers Jason Jacome and Allen McDill from the Mets for minor-league pitchers Derek Wallace and Geno Morones. . . . The Oriole Advocates Hall of Fame Card Show runs today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tall Cedars Hall in Towson. . . . The Orioles Hall of Fame Luncheon, honoring this year's inductees Mike Flanagan, George Bamberger and Chuck Thompson, will be held Aug. 4, at noon, at the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel.

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