Hammonds will miss at least four games, but won't go on DL Outfielder will get cortisone shot today for injured left ankle

THE BALTIMORE SUN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jeffrey Hammonds will receive a cortisone injection in his injured left ankle today and will not play again until Tuesday at the earliest. Hammonds aggravated his ++ hTC left Achilles' tendon crashing into the right-field wall during the second inning of Wednesday night's game.

Despite crumbling to the ground, Hammonds waved off trainer Richie Bancells and remained in the game until manager Davey Johnson saw that he was in obvious pain.

Hammonds said there is no chance he will go on the disabled list. "That's out of the question," he said. "That's not even an option."

The condition has caused Hammonds to play at less than 100 percent for the past month. He is hitting only .155 (9-for-58) since July 22 and seen his average fall from .300 to .275. Hammonds has one home run since July 19. While it hadn't robbed him of his speed, Hammonds was unable to stop and turn quickly. In the past week, he has seemingly carried a fence magnet wherever the Orioles play.

"No matter where I go, the wall keeps finding me," Hammonds said. "It doesn't matter. It finds me."

Hammonds' sore ankle hasn't prevented him from compiling a )) highlight reel of near-misses in the last week. Prior to crashing into the chain link fence fronting the Royals' bullpen Wednesday, he made a leaping attempt at Chili Davis' blast to left field in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader. Many, including Davis and base runner Jay Bell, believed Hammonds had brought the ball back until he turned over an empty glove. "I jumped too late," recalled Hammonds. "I didn't have enough time to gather myself underneath it. What's frustrating is if I'm sound, I've got a shot. But that one got by me."

Hammonds also nearly ran down Jim Edmonds' shot to center field Saturday only to leap, glove the ball, hit the padding and lose the ball over the wall.

Hammonds would have no part of suggestions that he gear down while playing hurt. "I don't think they're foolish plays. Davey knows every time I step between the lines I'll give him what I can."

As the rotation turns

Johnson and pitching coach Ray Miller have begun thinking of ways to tinker with the rotation in order to avoid using a No. 5 starter during the series against the New York Yankees, Sept. 4-7. To get where they want to be, Johnson and Miller may again ask Scott Kamieniecki to pitch on three days' rest. Scheduled to start Sunday against the Minnesota Twins, Kamieniecki may return to pitch against the Royals on Sept. 28. If given four days' rest then, he could pitch on short rest in Florida on Sept. 2. The juggling would allow the club to avoid using rookie Rick Krivda in the opener in New York. It also would have the added benefit of putting the rotation in order for a four-game series at Camden Yards between the top two AL East teams Sept. 11-14. However, Kamieniecki's start Tuesday on three days' rest gives Johnson pause. He suffered his worst start this season -- 3 1/3 innings, eight hits and seven earned runs.

Webster scratched

Chris Hoiles was named to catch in place of Lenny Webster only minutes before the start of the game. Webster suffered a strained left shoulder last weekend and had hoped the condition would allow him to play. But after batting practice, he found that the stiffness had not subsided.

In his last start, Webster singled, doubled and homered in Tuesday's win in the first game of the doubleheader. The start was the third consecutive for Hoiles, who has played less frequently since returning from the disabled list July 18. Hoiles, hitless in four at-bats last night, is batting .212 (17-for-80) since returning.

Around the horn

Eric Davis is expected to greet the team upon its return home today. Davis may suit up at home for the first time since a May 21 game against the Detroit Tigers. Mike Bordick's offensive woes continued last night. He went 0-for-4 and has one hit in last 24 at-bats. Johnson was encouraged by reports from Sarasota, Fla., of Roberto Alomar's rehabilitation from a groin pull. Johnson said Alomar hit for 20 minutes, took ground balls for about 20 minutes and has begun running close to full speed. Johnson described Alomar as "about 90 percent. That's probably 20 percent more than he's been most of the year."

This weekend's series will provide all kinds of extras for fans. Tomorrow, Orioles Advocates will hold a "Cardboard to Leather" Program in which fans are encouraged to bring used baseball equipment to the game. The equipment will be repaired and donated to youths in Cuba. All fans making a donation will receive an autographed photo of Rafael Palmeiro or Armando Benitez. On Sunday, fans will receive sunglasses from the Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. No strings attached. course, Fort Lauderdale is trying to keep the Orioles at the city's spring training site.

Red-hot Raffy

Rafael Palmeiro has emerged from a long slump to become one of the Orioles' most productive hitters over the past 10 games with a .400 average:

Date .. Opp. .. AB ... R ... H .. HR .. RBI

8/21 .. K.C. ... 4 ... 1 ... 2 ... 0 .... 2

8/20 .. K.C. ... 4 ... 2 ... 4 ... 2 .... 4

8/19 .. K.C. ... 4 ... 0 ... 0 ... 0 .... 0

....... K.C. ... 4 ... 3 ... 3 ... 1 .... 1

8/18 .. Ana. ... 4 ... 0 ... 0 ... 0 .... 0

8/17 .. Ana. ... 4 ... 2 ... 1 ... 1 .... 1

8/16 .. Ana. ... 5 ... 1 ... 2 ... 0 .... 0

8/15 .. Sea. ... 4 ... 1 ... 1 ... 0 .... 0

8/13 .. Oak. ... 3 ... 0 ... 0 ... 0 .... 0

8/12 .. Oak. ... 4 ... 1 ... 3 ... 1 .... 3

............... 40 .. 11 .. 16 ... 5 ... 11

Pub Date: 8/22/97

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