FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Second baseman Roberto Alomar is expected to miss the next four weeks, after a magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed a moderate to severe sprain in his left ankle. That's longer than the Orioles first thought, but he still should have plenty of time to be ready for the regular season.
"We don't know if it's going to be all of four weeks," said Alomar. "It's expected to be. It could be less."
Alomar, 29, has bone chips in his ankle that won't affect the infielder's rate of healing, general manager Pat Gillick said. "Robbie's been playing nearly year-round the last couple of years," said Gillick. "His body could probably use the time off.
"Everybody was in good health and everything was going well. Something had to happen."
Alomar said: "It's not so bad. It's just something I have to take care of, with therapy. A worse thing could've happened. It could be broken."
Alomar's injury may well prevent him from playing in an exhibition March 17, when umpire John Hirschbeck will work his first Orioles game of the year. Hirschbeck, involved in the much publicized incident with Alomar last September, will work his first regular-season Orioles series April 22-23, when the Chicago White Sox play at Camden Yards.
Alomar must serve a five-game suspension at the start of this season, and his injury will allow manager Davey Johnson more time to watch the two primary candidates to fill in for Alomar, Kelly Gruber and Jeff Reboulet.
Gruber, attempting a comeback after three years out of the game, took grounders around second base yesterday and practiced making the double play.
Johnson said: "I thought his pivot would be a lot worse. His pivot was pretty good. He's not going to be Robbie Alomar, but anybody going out there after Robbie would be a little bit of a drop-off."
Pub Date: 2/20/97