Orioles reliever Terry Mathews had his inflamed right wrist checked again by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs yesterday and was given permission to begin playing catch today -- the first measured step toward a return to the club.
Mathews is eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow but won't be ready for a while. He has been treating the wrist with rest and medication, and also has been doing some bending exercises with trainer Richie Bancells to test its strength. He was told by Jacobs to have the wrist taped before throwing to limit its movement.
"I won't have full range of motion, but I can begin to strengthen my arm," he said. "We'll see how things reacted and if we can step it up from there. This is basically like starting spring training all over again."
Mathews, who went on the DL May 2 retroactive to April 30, said he has been able to move the wrist in either direction without pain the past two days.
Mathews is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA. He has been scored upon in six of nine outings.
Charlton keeps it simple
Pitching coach Mike Flanagan has been working with another of the club's struggling relievers, Norm Charlton, on simplifying his delivery. The belief is that, by doing less on the mound, more favorable results will come.
Charlton had allowed nine earned runs in his previous four outings, before striking out the side in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 7-4 loss in Minnesota. Adding injury to insult, he also suffered a fractured nose when struck by a line drive from Chicago's Frank Thomas.
Maybe he's turning the corner. Having been reduced to mop-up duty, Charlton threw two scoreless innings last night. He struck out three, and the only hit off him was a one-out double by Omar Vizquel in the eighth.
"We're concentrating more on location. We're trying to break it down, make his delivery a little simpler. He's been working hard. I give him a lot of credit," Flanagan said.
Charlton, who has retired six of 13 first batters faced, said he just needs to relax and throw strikes.
Said Charlton: "I like to throw off a mound every day, usually in my tennis shoes so I don't get to eager to throw too hard, where I might slip. But in Tampa, we threw every day fairly hard, trying to get things ironed out, getting my motion smooth, trying to stay back and get the ball down."
Tuesday loss galls Miller
Manager Ray Miller admitted to still being upset with Tuesday's loss in Minnesota, perhaps more than at any other game this season. It wasn't so much the result as how it was achieved.
Though Miller said he doesn't question the players' physical effort, he added, "I just want to see a little more fire in our ballclub. It's always there when we face the premier pitchers. We need to do more of that on a daily basis. We're better than a .500 club, but we're not playing like it."
Around the horn
Miller said he was "enthused" with how Brady Anderson swung the bat Tuesday, when he collected his first double of the season. "It seems like he has more and more life," Miller said. "He's getting that swagger about him." Anderson broke into vTC trot in the first inning last night after jumping on Chad Ogea's first pitch and hitting the 28th leadoff homer of his career. Anderson homered again in the fourth Mike Bordick extended his hitting streak to seven games with a second-inning single. Saturday's game against Tampa Bay starts at 7: 05 p.m., the Orioles' first Saturday night home date this year.
Pub Date: 5/14/98