CLEVELAND -- Orioles left-hander Arthur Rhodes underwent shoulder surgery yesterday, with Dr. James Andrews repairing a slight tear in Rhodes' labrum, the tissue that surrounds his left shoulder.
Rhodes, who injured the joint throwing a pitch against the California Angels last month, is expected to wear a sling for a month. The full recovery time required for such tears varies, some pitchers returning quickly and others having their careers virtually ended.
The Orioles have indicated that they expect Rhodes, 25, to be ready by spring training. Rhodes went 2-5 with a 6.21 ERA this season, allowing 68 hits and 48 walks in 75 1/3 innings. He pitched better after being moved to the bullpen in July and was working in relief when he was hurt.
Turn to youth
Orioles manager Phil Regan said that while he's not going to commit to playing second baseman Manny Alexander, center fielder Curtis Goodwin and left fielder Mark Smith full time, he's inclined to use his young players in the last three weeks of the season.
"I think we really need to find out whether our young kids can play, and give them a full evaluation," he said.
Alexander, however, strained his left groin last night.
And Goodwin was back in the starting lineup last night for the first time since Aug. 19, when his left index finger was mashed by a pitch as he tried to bunt. Goodwin could be used in a platoon with Smith. Goodwin would play center field against right-handers with Brady Anderson in left, and Smith would play left against left-handers with Anderson playing center field.
Paying homage, sort of
In the eighth inning of Cal Ripken's consecutive-game No. 2,131 Wednesday, the Orioles' shortstop was on first when Chris Hoiles hit a blooper to center field. Ripken was all the way to second when he realized center fielder Jim Edmonds was going to catch the ball.
Ripken charged back to first, but with just an average throw to first base, the rifle-armed Edmonds could have completed the double play.
Instead, Edmonds threw softly to first, where J. T. Snow -- regarded as perhaps the best defensive player at his position -- failed to glove an easy short hop.
The thought occurred to Ripken that the Angels went easy on him and prevented him from being embarrassed in such a special game. "I said [to Snow], 'You took pity on an older guy, didn't you?' J.T. said nothing," Ripken said.
Edmonds said after the game, "I just couldn't throw [hard] to first . . ."
=1 Snow merely smiled when asked about the play.
Around the horn
Struggling left-hander Jamie Moyer will be skipped in the rotation this time around, and used out of the bullpen instead. If Ben McDonald is thought to have made sufficient progress in his minor-league rehab start last night, he could replace Moyer in the rotation. . . . Mark Eichhorn, who had rotator cuff surgery in February, is with the Orioles on this road trip, his first of the year. Eichhorn is hoping he can pitch once or twice in a game before the end of the season. He's a free agent after this year. . . . . George Fanning, the general manager for the Orioles' Rookie League team in Bluefield, W.Va., died Thursday at the age of 86. His funeral will be held in Bluefield today.
STRANGE, BUT TRUE
Maybe it's coincidental. Maybe some stats freaks have too much time on their hands. Whatever, there were several coincidences involved in the numbers associated with Cal Ripken's consecutive-games record.
* After the 2,131st game in the streak became official Wednesday night, Ripken began his lap around Camden Yards at 9:31 p.m. -- or 21:31 in military time.
* Ripken, who wears No. 8, had eight curtain calls Wednesday.
* Lou Gehrig's record had stood for 56 years -- the number of games in the hitting streak of Joe DiMaggio, a teammate of Gehrig's, who was present Wednesday night.
* Wednesday's game was delayed for 22 minutes, 15 seconds -- which matches the number of consecutive games played by Japan's Sachio Kinugasa -- 2,215.
* Going into last night's game in Cleveland, Ripken was 84 games away from Kinugasa's record. He played against Kinugasa in 1984, when the Orioles toured Japan.