Pitcher David Wells appeared briefly in the Orioles' clubhouse yesterday morning for the first time since he was hospitalized for a rapid heart rate. However, he may not be ready to pitch for another day or two, as he undergoes more stress tests to confirm the initial findings.
Dr. William Goldiner, the Orioles' team doctor, has been consulting with the treating physician in Fort Lauderdale, and he believes caffeine, from coffee or soda, may have been the cause of Wells' accelerated heart rate.
"I think that caffeine probably is the big [reason]," Goldiner said. "That probably put him into it."
The results of Wells' heart tests "appear to be normal," the doctor said. One in particular, Goldiner indicated, "rules out any intrinsic heart disease."
Goldiner said there are no similarities between Wells' trouble and those of Hank Gathers, the Loyola Marymount basketball player who collapsed during a 1990 game and died. "This is not life-threatening," Goldiner said. "Those people [like Gathers] have other signs [of heart trouble]."
Those signs can include dizziness and a change in blood pressure. "An increased heart rate does not [necessarily] imply a life-threatening illness," Goldiner said. "David was feeling normal before he had this.
"David may never have this again."
Wells has declined to comment, and according to a club spokesman, the left-hander's intention is to refrain from talking ever about his problems, which began Sunday night. Wells' heart rate was restored to normal with medication Monday.
Orioles manager Davey Johnson thinks Wells could start this weekend, although he sounded much less confident of that happening than he did Tuesday. "There's a whole lot of medical stuff to keep up with," Johnson said.
Pub Date: 3/14/96