An MRI performed on Brady Anderson's right knee Thursday night revealed a slight tear in his patella tendon, but Orioles officials are hopeful that the center fielder can avoid a return to the disabled list.
Assistant general manager Kevin Malone said Anderson's status must be determined by Tuesday, when the Orioles begin a three-game series in Chicago.
"Brady's got a high threshold of pain, a high tolerance," Malone said. "He could be better tomorrow, so we'll just go day-to-day. We're optimistic that by the time we get to Chicago, he'll be ready."
Anderson suffered the injury in the second inning of Thursday's game against Tampa Bay while trying to make a leaping catch of Bubba Trammell's double. With his back mostly turned to the infield, Anderson rammed into the fence and came down standing on the warning track. He retrieved the ball, then stayed in the game for one pitch before limping to the dugout. X-rays were negative and he was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital for the MRI.
Anderson said the injury wasn't caused by landing on the track, as the club had first speculated. "I injured it on takeoff, then burned up on re-entry," he said.
"I'll just have to see how it feels tomorrow. It's pretty sore. I wouldn't describe it as excruciating pain, but I felt limited in what I could do. I'm just going to try to get it feeling better the next day or so."
Before the injury, Anderson had hit in 12 of his past 13 games, batting .389 (21-for-54) with five homers to raise his season's average to .244.
"He's able to play as tolerated," trainer Richie Bancells said. "He's got a little bit of swelling in there and it's sore. We'll just see what happens after a couple days."
Bancells said the club will address the possibility of surgery after the season. Anderson has been playing with inflammation in the knee, which may have weakened the tendon and led to the tear.
"If he did [need surgery], it's not a major thing. It's just like a small cleanup. The doctor said he's not in danger of having a complete rupture," Bancells said.
In place of Anderson, Eric Davis made his ninth start in center field. He remains the only right-handed-hitting outfielder after last week's trade of Jeffrey Hammonds to Cincinnati for Willie Greene, who started in right field.
"I guess we'll be a player short for one day, and we'll see what happens. We'll have to see how Brady bounces back. But we're kind of in a hole for a little bit," manager Ray Miller said.
"You don't want to make a decision too quick and lose him for 15 days, but we can't go too many days without an extra guy. It'll be nip and tuck. We've got to make a read on it pretty quick."
Miller also repeated his need for a right-handed-hitting outfielder. One option could be Triple-A third baseman Willis Otanez, who has been moved to the outfield, where he appeared in 30 games in the Dominican Republic last year. "We're going to see a lot of lefties for Chicago and Kansas City," Miller said.
Malone said the club continues to explore trade possibilities, as well as adding someone from the farm system.
Drabek nearing return
Doug Drabek will become the latest Orioles pitcher to make a rehab start in the minors when he throws at Double-A Bowie on Tuesday. Then he'll join the club in Chicago, Miller said.
Drabek remains on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He threw batting practice for about 15 minutes Thursday and said his leg felt good, but he may have to wait until rosters are expanded on Sept. 1 before being activated.
With Scott Kamieniecki again struggling last night, Drabek could start Aug. 29, the next time the Orioles need a fifth starter.
Hargrove gets extension
Indians manager Mike Hargrove received a contract extension that allows him to lead the team through the year 2000.
The extension, announced yesterday, comes in the midst of a season in which the Indians will probably pick up a fourth consecutive AL Central Division title.
Hargrove, 48, said he's grown into the job, and not only literally -- as he estimates a gain of 25 pounds since taking the job in 1991.
Twice, he has led the Indians to the World Series and now ranks third on the club's all-time win list with 605.
"Maybe I feel more comfortable and a lot less intimidated by my job and certain aspects of it," Hargrove said when asked about how he's changed since taking the job. "I feel good about it. Any time that you get the job security that the extra year adds. Any time the people you work for acknowledge the job that you've done."
Trotting not sitting
Rafael Palmeiro began last night in a 2-for-24 slump and had gone hitless in three straight games for only the third time this season. Such a drought hadn't occurred since May 5-8.
Like Cal Ripken, he has started every game this season. Miller has approached Palmeiro about taking a night off on a few occasions, but it's hard to interrupt a player who's already surpassed 100 RBIs and is on pace for his first 40-homer season. A player who doesn't see the benefit in sitting.
Miller said the times he has come closest to leaving Palmeiro out of the lineup are the nights the first baseman ends up doing something special. "He'll go out and hit three home runs," Miller said.
He hit one last night, in the first inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead, but finished 1-for-4.
"This is the hardest team in the world to give a guy a day off," Miller said. "Guys walk by with a bone sticking out of their leg and say they're all right."
S. Alomar takes night off
Indians catcher Sandy Alomar, who lashed out at Cleveland-area media and fans last week, was scratched from the lineup last night in favor of Pat Borders, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Alomar, MVP of last season's All-Star Game, had been suffering from knee problems, but is also in a 10-for-72 slump.
Alomar said it was simply a day off, nothing else.
"I played six days in a row, I get a day off," Alomar said. "If I was benched because I was struggling, I would have been benched a month ago."
Around the horn
The Orioles are 30-10 since the break, but 3-3 in their last six games. Cleveland improved to 64-18 when scoring four or more runs. No Oriole got more than one hit. It was but the second time Indians starter Jaret Wright allowed two homers in a game this year.
Pub Date: 8/22/98