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Medical all-clear relief for Fordyce


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles catcher Brook Fordyce, who lost five pints of blood when an artery burst between his stomach and esophagus in January, got some long-awaited good news yesterday.

The biopsy that was performed to determine the cause of the incident showed nothing to indicate it was the result of a serious disease. Fordyce, understandably relieved, said he has been assured that a recurrence is unlikely if he avoids aspirin products and anti-inflammatory medication and takes an acid-neutralizing medication regularly.

Though he had to sweat out the lab report, Fordyce, 31, said he already was confident he had put the strange episode behind him. He fell ill on Jan. 23 and suffered horrific internal bleeding that left him slumped in his bathroom bordering on unconsciousness. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital near his Stuart, Fla., home, where he spent four days in the intensive care unit.

He recovered quickly and arrived at Orioles spring training camp 2 1/2 weeks later under no significant activity restrictions. He has had a hot bat, hitting .333 after batting just .209 last season.

"It wasn't like there was a broken bone or something that needed healing," he said. "Once they stopped the bleeding, I was almost back to normal."

But the incident was so traumatic for his wife, Jaci, that she recently called Orioles manager Mike Hargrove to ask that Orioles officials take the precaution of making sure a friend in the Orioles' traveling party rooms next door to Fordyce when the team is on the road.

Fordyce doesn't appear concerned, though doctors have been unable to tell him exactly why the wall of the artery ruptured. Extensive examination of his esophagus, stomach and intestinal tract revealed no sign of any other problem.

"The doctors are confident that it was a freak thing and that it has healed," he said. "Going out on the field and doing what I have to do has eased my mind."

Though Fordyce's activities have not been limited, the fact that he will no longer be able to use anti-inflammatory medication could have a subtle effect on his playing time over the course of a season. Catchers are particularly vulnerable to minor, nagging injuries that can be alleviated by anti-inflammatory drugs.

Rogers finally arrives

Highly regarded infield prospect Ed Rogers finally touched down in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, 16 days after he originally was scheduled to arrive with the major-league position players.

Rogers was held up in the Dominican Republic by U.S. immigration officials, apparently because of an age discrepancy in his immigration documentation that revealed he is 23 years old instead of 20.

Dozens of Latin players have been delayed -- and many have had their ages updated -- because of increased visa scrutiny in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

Because Rogers arrived late in the day, he went straight to the team hotel, but he should be in camp today.

Maduro signs

Pitcher Calvin Maduro agreed to terms on a one-year deal yesterday, becoming the last player on the Orioles' 40-man roster to sign his contract this spring. Maduro came to terms five days before the deadline for renewing "zero-to-three" players.

Not-so-killer B's

The Orioles "B" team managed just three singles in a six-inning, 1-0 loss yesterday morning against the Cardinals.

Larry Bigbie, Domingo Martinez and Luis Garcia had the only hits against Cardinals pitchers Clint Weibl, Kevin Sheredy and Scotty Layfield.

Orioles pitchers Rick Bauer, John Bale and Jorge Julio combined to strike out eight.

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