Miller: Anderson return to be to field, not DL Outfielder may start tonight; manager also sees Drabek bouncing back


Though he's learned to brace himself for the unexpected this season when it concerns injuries, Orioles manager Ray Miller said he intends to write center fielder Brady Anderson's name in the lineup tonight. Taking a bolder stroke, he also dismissed the possibility of Doug Drabek going on the disabled list.

Anderson came close to making his second stop on the DL after pulling a quadriceps muscle in his right leg while retreating on Tony Fernandez's home run Friday. Asked about the injury before last night's game against New York, Anderson said, "I'm not going on the DL because of it. I hope to be playing tomorrow or the next day."

Said Miller: "I have full intentions of playing him tomorrow. If he can't play tomorrow, then I guess we'll have to do something."

If Anderson winds up on the DL, the club probably would choose between Triple-A outfielders Danny Clyburn and Ricky Otero to take his place. Clyburn returned from a fractured left foot on May 28 and remains on the 40-man roster because his injury occurred during spring training. Otero spent parts of the last two seasons with Philadelphia.

Anderson took batting practice Sunday in Toronto and again yesterday after rain forced some of the hitters into the indoor cage. He did some running in the outfield after the game.

With Anderson still unavailable, Eric Davis made his seventh start in center field last night. Jesus Tavarez started the last two games of the Toronto series, going 2-for-8 with a home run.

Drabek is scheduled to throw in the bullpen today, and how he feels during and after the session will determine whether he makes Thursday's start against Toronto.

Drabek lasted only two innings against the Blue Jays on Saturday after experiencing tightness in a muscle on the right side of his chest while warming at SkyDome. If the discomfort continues, Miller said he probably would start Doug Johns on Thursday and use Drabek in long relief.

"With Drabek, it's not going to be a DL thing," Miller said.

"After a while it kind of loosens up," Drabek said, "but it's still got a tight, bruised feeling. Maybe I can work on throwing left-handed and see if I can get by with that."

Kamieniecki on hold

Miller still has no idea when Scott Kamieniecki will return from the neck stiffness that put him on the DL May 30, retroactive to May 23. He performed some exercises yesterday in the trainer's room, but has moved ahead of Jimmy Key on the club's list of pitching concerns.

Once questioning whether he'd be able to pitch again, Key has made tremendous progress since receiving a cortisone shot in his inflamed left rotator cuff last week. He's scheduled to throw today for the first time since going on the DL May 24, retroactive to May 21.

"It appears Key will be back first," Miller said.

Mathews ready to return

Reliever Terry Mathews threw on the side yesterday in preparation for tomorrow's return from the DL. He made two rehab starts in the minors after going on the DL June 6, retroactive to June 2, with stiffness in his right shoulder.

"Everything feels a whole lot freer than it did before," he said.

Mathews has made a noticeable change in his delivery, dropping his arm into a new slot. "It's as sidearmed as I feel I can go and still get on top of the ball," he said.

His return will give Miller a third right-hander for the bullpen, joining Armando Benitez and Alan Mills.

Hoiles OK?

Miller noticed that catcher Chris Hoiles was moving slowly during Sunday's game and suggested the reason could be a physical ailment. "I don't know if his back's bothering him again or what, but his actions don't seem as quick," Miller said.

Hoiles dismissed Miller's theory. "My back's fine," he said.

Hoiles went 3-for-14 on the road trip, putting his average at .197. His last homer came April 21. Lenny Webster, who started last night because Scott Erickson was pitching, went 0-for-9 on the trip.

Even with Webster bouncing back to go 2-for-4 last night, he and Hoiles combined are batting only .222 with six homers and 28 RBIs.

"I need more production out of our catchers. The last 10 days, we basically had four people hitting -- [Harold] Baines, [B. J.] Surhoff, [Rafael] Palmeiro and [Roberto] Alomar. That needs to change. We need to get more output from some other guys," Miller said.

Around the horn

Rain caused the game to start late and brought a brief delay midway in the seventh inning. Palmeiro and Mike Mussina received their Gold Gloves. Miller said he still hasn't gotten a good report on Jeffrey Hammonds, who went on the DL June 6, retroactive to June 2, with recurring back spasms. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani made his first visit to Camden Yards, stopping by both clubhouses and chatting with Cal Ripken. "It's a beautiful ballpark. It's got the feel of an old-time ballpark. I feel like I'm back in Ebbets Field," he said. In addition to Tim Raines Jr., the Orioles also signed left-handers Randy Perez and Jason Pruitt, right-handers Eliot Tomaszewski and Denis Gratton, and shortstop Derrick Gutierrez and assigned them to the Gulf Coast League.

Pub Date: 6/16/98

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