Star-crossed reliever Shawn Boskie is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery today on his right elbow. The procedure, which at the very least will remove bone spurs from the area, will be performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles and ensures that Boskie's season has ended.
Boskie went on the disabled list on Aug. 16 because of elbow tendinitis. He pitched five times in relief after being activated Sept. 1 and surrendered 12 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. After Boskie's last appearance against the Cleveland Indians Sept. 15, the swelling became more pronounced and a decision was made to shut him down for the rest of the season.
Trainer Richie Bancells said the puffiness around the elbow was the most obvious sign of trouble.
"That tells you something's going on there," he said. "The diagnostic studies didn't show a whole lot. The scope is going to be for taking a look-see first, and then after that we'll know exactly what's going on. Dr. Yocum will see if anything needs to be cleaned out of there. You never know for sure until you take a look."
Boskie made nine starts, spending most of the season in the bullpen and going 6-6 with a 6.43 ERA.
Manager Davey Johnson said he knew the elbow was bothering his pitcher all season. "He didn't come clean until later," Johnson said.
Following a similar transaction by the Ravens last week, the Orioles are in the final stages of refinancing their debt and establishing a new line of credit.
The team, which clinched the divisional championship this week, is taking advantage of some recently completed contracts with broadcasters and other partners to update its credit, said Joe Foss, the Orioles' vice chairman of finance.
He declined to provide the total value of the debt, but said it is "well under $100 million." Until now, the team has been relying on the debt structure set up when Peter Angelos and other investors bought the team in 1993 for $173 million.
NationsBank is the lead lender in the transaction, which is expected to be completed next week and consists of a variety of long- and short-term lines of credit. Documents related to the deal were approved yesterday by the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Last week, the Ravens completed a massive restructuring that saw the team take on $185 million in loans and commercial paper debt.
First baseman Rafael Palmeiro says he isn't upset about Johnson's decision to bench him in Game 1 of the Division Series against Seattle Mariners left-hander Randy Johnson. But that doesn't mean Palmeiro won't try to change his mind.
Palmeiro briefly discussed the matter with Johnson yesterday afternoon and was not surprised by what he heard. Johnson decided that since the Orioles had won three starts against Johnson without Palmeiro in the lineup, it was foolish to change something that had brought such success.
"We've won without me in there before, so it wouldn't be right to get angry and make a scene about it," said Palmeiro, only 1-for-21 (.048) lifetime against the Big Unit.
Palmeiro leads the Orioles with 38 home runs and 110 RBIs. The issue will certainly be resurrected next week in Seattle. By then, Palmeiro hopes his hot bat will have forced an adjustment.
"I've still got time to make a statement. I've been seeing the ball real well lately. I don't have a problem getting in there against him. He's human. I'm human. But it's the manager's decision," Palmeiro said.
Johnson said he doubted that he would change his mind concerning the lineup, preferring to use more right-handed hitters.
"I reserve the right to wait until the last minute," he added.
His other options at first base include catcher Chris Hoiles and Aaron Ledesma, who have started there against Johnson this year, and Jerome Walton, who started at first base Wednesday night against Toronto left-hander Omar Daal.
Johnson discusses roster
Johnson doesn't expect to have his postseason roster set until Tuesday or Wednesday, the day of the opening game in Seattle. He had discussions yesterday with club officials. He'll go with 10 pitchers, leaving room for 15 position players.
"You can figure it out, probably," he said.
Around the horn
Catcher B. J. Waszgis, designated for assignment on Sept. 15 when Eric Davis was activated, has been claimed by the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles' 10th-round draft pick in 1991, Waszgis spent this season at Triple-A Rochester, batting .260 in 100 games with 13 homers and 48 RBIs. He committed 12 errors. Cal Ripken reached two more milestones Wednesday: He passed Ron Cey for 78th place on baseball's all-time walk list with 1,014, and tied Bill Buckner for 47th place on the all-time hit list with 2,715. The Toronto Star ran a poll yesterday asking readers to vote on who they would like to succeed the ousted Cito Gaston. No. 4 among the seven candidates was Davey Johnson.
Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers
Site: County Stadium, Milwaukee
Time: 8: 05
TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)
Starters: Orioles' Rick Krivda (4-1, 6.20) vs. Brewers' Pete Harnisch (0-1, 7.00)
Pub Date: 9/26/97