Davis not sure when he'll return Right elbow bruised, 'throbbing pretty good'; Drabek set for Sunday


NEW YORK -- While dismissing the possibility of going on the disabled list, outfielder Eric Davis admitted he's not sure when he'll be ready to play again after getting hit on the right elbow during Wednesday's game against the New York Mets.

Davis was hit by Mets pitcher Rick Reed in the first inning and left the game in the fourth. X-rays showed only a bruise, but it's in the same location where Davis has been bothered much of the year by inflammation caused by bone chips.

"It was throbbing pretty good this morning," Davis said. "There's some swelling. It's beat up pretty good, compounding what was going on before. It was getting better. This is just another obstacle in a long list of obstacles."

Davis didn't attempt to swing the bat yesterday, and won't until he can lessen the swelling and soreness enough to recoup his lost range of motion.

"Time will tell what I can do and when I can do it," he said.

Asked about the disabled list, Davis said, "That's not on my mind. I don't even want to talk about it."

Miller has considered it, saying he will speak with club officials about adding another outfielder if Davis is unavailable for more than a few days.

The Orioles already are trying to get by without Jeffrey Hammonds, who remains on the disabled list with a nerve irritation in his neck that caused severe back spasms. The chances of Harold Baines being pressed into emergency duty were reduced when he strained his left hamstring Monday, though he was available last night. Joe Carter started in right.

Drabek ready to go

Doug Drabek threw in the bullpen yesterday for about 18 minutes and appeared ready to make Sunday's start in Montreal. He was scratched from his last two turns because of a strained muscle in his chest.

Drabek hasn't pitched since June 13, when he lasted two innings in Toronto after suffering the injury while warming up. He wanted to make Tuesday's start against the Mets at Camden Yards, but was talked into waiting by pitching coach Mike Flanagan.

"It went fine," Drabek said of his side session. "It's about 95 percent better than it was. I went a little extra just to see how it felt and it was OK. I guess we're back to normal, if I've ever been normal."

Drabek threw a little longer than usual to compensate for the layoff. "Not really being on a mound, I was a little off and wanted to get the correct feeling," he said.

Drabek said his arm was feeling a little stronger than he'd like because he hadn't pitched for so long. "We'll find out more come Sunday," he said.

Key progressing slowly

Jimmy Key continues to play catch, throwing for 15 minutes before Wednesday's game and again yesterday. However, Key said he won't throw off a mound until sometime after the All-Star break.

"I'm keeping an open mind and trying to do a little more every day," said Key, on the disabled list since May 21 with an inflamed left rotator cuff. "But we won't really know anything until I get on a mound."

Warm-up act

The Orioles-Mets interleague series was greeted mostly with indifference by fans here looking ahead to the weekend showdown with the Yankees. Yesterday's New York Post included a 28-page pullout section dedicated exclusively to the subway series.

No wonder the response to the Orioles' first games against the Mets at Shea Stadium since the 1969 World Series was a collective ho-hum. New York Post columnist George Willis likened Tuesday's 6-3 Mets win to "a speed-bump on the way to the much-anticipated weekend series," and noted how it was greeted with all the enthusiasm of a warm-up band for the Rolling Stones.

On both nights the Orioles were in town, obscene chants directed at the Yankees could be heard from the stands. Why wait until the last minute? A total of 64,945 fans showed up for the two games. Most appeared to be killing time until the real fun begins.

At least Orioles reliever Jesse Orosco can take back some fond memories of his visit here. Orosco spent parts of eight seasons with the Mets and recorded the last out in the 1986 World Series. The imagine of Orosco hurling his glove in the air and being swarmed by jubilant teammates is frozen in time.

It thawed a bit Tuesday when his eighth-inning trek from the bullpen was met with a loud ovation from a crowd that hadn't forgotten.

"I was nice. They were good about it," said Orosco, 41, who also returned to Shea in 1988 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers. "There are only a couple of us dinosaurs left on that team."

After the first inning last night, the Mets provided a video tribute to Orosco. And he got another nice ovation when he replaced Scott Erickson in the seventh.

Security problems

Security appeared a little tighter around the batting cage than it was Wednesday, when manager Ray Miller had to ask stadium officers to clear away fans seeking autographs and taking snapshots.

"I was scared to death," Miller said. "Some guy was standing behind Cal [Ripken]. I asked if he had a credential and he said no. Get him out of here. Then somebody said he was with an umpire. I said, 'For sure, get him out of here.' "

Pub Date: 6/26/98

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