TORONTO -- What recently was an outfield glut has become a scramble for healthy bodies. Center fielder Brady Anderson pulled a right quadriceps muscle on Friday that will force him to miss at least several games and could place him on the disabled list for the second time this season.
Anderson sustained the injury retreating on Tony Fernandez's eighth-inning home run and had to limp from the field in mid-inning.
"I was running after Fernandez's home run. I just felt it. I didn't hear it and I didn't feel it snap," said Anderson, who received extensive treatment before yesterday's game. "It was more like a small pulling feeling. It's hard to describe. You don't think about it at the time because you're running after the ball."
Anderson will try to take batting practice tonight but will not return to the lineup for at least several days, according to manager Ray Miller. Any decision to put Anderson on the DL will wait until trainers have had time to evaluate any improvement in his condition.
Miller and general manager Pat Gillick discussed alternatives before the game. There are a few at Triple-A Rochester.
Danny Clyburn returned from a foot injury on May 28. Though he's technically still on the major-league roster because his injury occurred during spring training, his assignment ends Tuesday. Ricky Otero entered the weekend having hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games.
"I'm a pretty quick healer on some things, not so quick on others. I hope this thing heals quickly," said Anderson, who was bothered for much of April and May by a strained shoulder that eventually forced him onto the disabled list. Anderson has hit in 22 of his last 27 games with an at-bat, raising his average to .197.
Anderson's absence further complicates an outfield that has missed Jeffrey Hammonds since June 3 because of back spasms and can not rely on sore-armed Eric Davis to play every day. Hammonds, who had started 14 of 15 games before going down, is eligible to come off the DL Thursday, but according to team trainers must first strengthen the area with weight training. Hammonds has yet to begin the program because the condition has yet to dissipate.
Davis is dealing with a bone chip in his right elbow that causes inflammation. He also is struggling with a 7-for-40 skid that has dropped his average from .314 to .275 over his last 14 games.
Without Anderson, the Orioles also have a shallow pool of left-handed bats. Miller worked yesterday's game without one on the bench. It also forces him to use Joe Carter in right field.
Disk hurting Kamieniecki?
Through process of elimination, the Orioles believe they have deduced that disabled pitcher Scott Kamieniecki is suffering from an irritated nerve caused by a disk problem. Kamieniecki, put on the disabled list retroactive to May 23, remains in Baltimore, where he is receiving physical therapy for what originally was believed to be a muscle strain on the right side of his neck.
"The problem sounds worse than it is," said trainer Richie Bancells, who could not project when Kamieniecki may resume throwing.
The Orioles continue to restock their Triple-A affiliate with last-chance arms. Their most recent acquisition is former Seattle Mariners flash Dave Fleming. The left-hander was obtained after being released by the Pawtucket Red Sox. He was 1-1 with a 7.58 ERA. Fleming debuted for Rochester on Wednesday, pitching three scoreless innings, allowing one hit.
Fleming has been released by the Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees and Red Sox since January 1997. He pitched in the independent Northeast League last season, a long fall from his 29-15 record with the Mariners in 1992-1993. Fleming had rotator cuff surgery in April 1996.
Around the horn
The Blue Jays optioned outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. to Triple-A Syracuse. Cruz, who batted .248 in his first season split between Seattle and Toronto with 26 homers and 68 RBIs, is hitting .214 (34-for-159) this season, with three home runs and 14 RBIs. Catcher Darrin Fletcher will be activated from the 15-day DL. Doug Drabek has allowed 14 homers in his 14 starts. Red Wings third baseman Willis Otanez leads the International League with 55 RBIs and is tied for second with 15 homers. Yesterday's rainout will likely allow the Orioles to miss left-hander Andy Pettitte on Wednesday. Instead, the Yankees should send David Wells, Orlando Hernandez and Hideki Irabu against Scott Erickson, Sidney Ponson and Mike Mussina.
In seven of their past 12 losses, the Orioles have scored at least five runs.
Date .. Opp .. .. . Starter .. .. IP .. .. ER .. .. Sc.
6/13 .. Tor .. .. . Drabek .. .. . 2 .. ... 5 .. .. 9-8
6/6 ... Atl .. .. . Mussina . .. . 4 2/3 . ... 8 .. . 10-5
5/31 .. Tex .. .. . Erickson ... . 7 .. ... 7 .. .. 9-5
5/30 .. Tex .. .. . Munoz .. ... . 3 .. ... 5 .. . 10-8
5/22 .. Oak .. .. . Kamien. .. ... 3 .. ... 7 .. .. 9-5
5/20 .. NY .. .. .. Key .. .. .. . 5 2/3 .. .. 9 .. .. 9-6
5/19 .. NY .. .. .. Johns .. .. .. 5 .. ... 1 .. .. 9-5
Pub Date: 6/14/98