Davis leaves hospital, but abscess a concern Slow-healing condition reopens surgery question

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Orioles outfielder Eric Davis has checked out of the University of Maryland Medical Center, but his immediate future remains clouded by a slow-healing abscess in his upper abdomen.

While team doctor William Goldiner discounted speculation that Davis will need surgery to repair the condition, he said Davis will undergo another CT scan today to Davis determine if a change in treatment is needed.

Davis has doggedly fought the idea of surgery since it would necessitate him missing six to eight weeks. Davis has not played since May 23, a day after he removed himself from a game against the Cleveland Indians due to "excruciating" stomach pain and spent four hours in a Cleveland hospital.

Doctors believe the abscess was caused by a perforation in Davis' bowel. Antibiotics have only slightly diminished a 3 1/2 -inch mass, though Davis is experiencing far less pain than before.

If surgery is not required but the abscess does not go away, Davis could conceivably play. When, Goldiner says, is "the $24,000 question."

Should the abscess rupture, Davis would be forced to undergo emergency surgery to counter peritonitis. "We wouldn't let him play if we thought there was a significant chance of that happening," Goldiner said.

Doctors said last weekend that the prospects for surgery were less than 50-50 and projected Davis' return at two to three weeks. However, his progress has since slowed and he is being asked to miss an upcoming 10-day road trip. Dr. Barbara Bass, acting head of surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, has joined the team evaluating Davis.

Has anyone seen Arthur Rhodes lately?

Rhodes has made only two appearances since May 14, throwing a combined four innings and allowing seven hits and three runs. After a scorching start, he's been scored upon in four of his past five outings, and six of his past eight.

More than anything, he's been collecting dust, though he doesn't expect a problem when he's finally called upon.

"I should be all right," he said. "I've been doing a lot of throwing on the side and playing catch. We've got starters who are doing a real good job, going seven or eight innings, and then the closers come in. I've just got to sit back and wait my turn."

And try to get back in the same early-season groove that saw him give up one run in his first 14 innings.

Most recently, on May 25 in Cleveland, Rhodes absorbed his second loss by permitting five hits and two runs after replacing starter Mike Johnson to begin the fourth inning. Among the damage was a home run by David Justice.

"In Cleveland, there were a couple situations he should have been out of that he wasn't, and then he'd give up hits," said pitching coach Ray Miller. "He just needs to work. And he needs hot weather."

Rhodes still takes special care of his left knee, which has bothered him since spring training, but Miller said it doesn't affect his pitching.

"It bothers him running. It doesn't bother him throwing," Miller said. "He's had to work on the bike all the time, which he hates because he loves to run. It's just going to be there."

Miller sees one benefit in Rhodes' inactivity. With the Orioles having to reschedule so many games, the club will need all the fresh arms it can get.

"In the second half, we're going to be worked to death," he said.

Alomar sits again

As expected, Jeff Reboulet started at second base because manager Davey Johnson didn't want Roberto Alomar hitting from the right side against Yankees starter Andy Pettitte. Alomar's left shoulder has been sore since he overswung at a pitch batting right-handed in Saturday's game.

"It's probably going to be a nagging thing," Johnson said. "It's seems like it's been that kind of year for Robbie. It's always going to be something bugging him. He's running a lot better and that was my main concern, stealing bases and moving left to right."

Alomar was introduced as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, but when the Yankees brought in left-hander Graeme Lloyd, Johnson countered with Lenny Webster.

Reboulet, who made his 14th start last night, had batted for Alomar in the eighth inning of Tuesday's win, against Yankees left-hander Mike Stanton, and his one-out single in the 10th inning preceded Rafael Palmeiro's game-winning homer. His bunt single last night was a key in the Orioles' four-run seventh inning.

"I'm used to coming in like that. It's been my job for five years or so," he said. "I used to go in for defense [at Minnesota], but that's not going to happen on this team."

Toast of hometown

Rookie Dave Dellucci is obviously enjoying his first taste of big-league life, as are his fans.

"Everybody back home [in Baton Rouge, La.] has been calling my house 24 hours a day, saying they saw me on ESPN, they saw me on TV. It's pretty exciting."

Around the horn

Cal Ripken moved past Roberto Clemente for 49th place on baseball's all-time games played list with 2,434. He also reached double figures in home runs for the 16th consecutive season. Mike Bordick went 1-for-4 to keep his average at a season-high .222. Yankees second baseman Luis Sojo was 6-for-10 in the series, but Randy Myers got him to fly out with two on in the ninth for the last out. Golfer Ben Crenshaw visited the Orioles' clubhouse. A record 13,260 fans took a tour of Camden Yards during May. The previous single-month record was 11,332 in May 1996.

Pub Date: 6/05/97

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