- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Injured outfielder Luis Matos took batting practice yesterday while the Baltimore Orioles’ doctors awaited results from a bone scan on his right shin.

“It’s been a week already, and I’m ready to know what it is,” said Matos.

Trainer Richie Bancells said that until team doctors in Baltimore see the results of the bone scan performed Monday, Matos would be limited to activities that don’t involve running or pounding motions on his leg.

“Until we get the results, we don’t want to do anything to compound it,” Bancells said before the Orioles lost to the Florida Marlins 15-7.

Matos has not played since the spring opener March4, when pain in his right shin prompted a battery of tests to determine whether the injury was a case of shin splints or a stress fracture.

If he is diagnosed with shin splints, Matos would be prescribed five to seven days of rest — a period that has almost already expired. If the results show a stress fracture, he could be sidelined for a month, depending on the severity of the injury.

Not running has alleviated the pain, Matos said.

“If I’m not running, there’s no pain. … I don’t run for a week and it feels a lot better,” he said.

Matos underwent an MRI last week and a CT scan and bone scan Monday in Fort Lauderdale. The Orioles got the results Tuesday and forwarded them to the team’s Baltimore-based medical team for further review.

The CT scan results were overnighted Tuesday and arrived yesterday morning. The results from the bone scan are still en route.

“It’s a mailing issue,” Bancells said.

Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli was pleased to see Matos back in uniform and in the batting cage on the back field at Fort Lauderdale Stadium but said the team was proceeding with caution.

“It’s a step in the right direction, I guess,” Mazzilli said. “They could have very easily said to shut him down completely. It was good for him to be out there hitting, stretch with the guys.”

Until Matos is cleared to resume running, he will continue to do his conditioning work on a stationary bicycle, Bancells said.

Even when Matos is deemed healthy, Mazzilli said he would take a guarded approach to when the outfielder would return to game action.

“You can’t just put him in the lineup,” Mazzilli said. “He’s got to run, feel like he’s ready to go. Obviously, you want him to get a couple of at-bats. I may DH him first.”

In yesterday’s game, Ramon Castro hit his team-leading third homer of the spring and had three RBI to help a Marlins split squad beat the Orioles.

Castro’s solo homer came in the fifth inning. The game was tied 2-2 in the sixth when Florida scored six runs off loser Adam Loewen, the Orioles’ No.1 pick in the 2002 amateur draft. The left-hander walked all four batters he faced, and all scored.

“Too many walks,” Mazzilli said of his pitchers, who allowed nine. “We started the inning with walks, there were two-out walks — those come back to burn you all the time.”

Baltimore’s Omar Daal rebounded from a rocky first spring start to toss three shutout innings. He allowed two singles and walked a batter, and was helped by a pair of double-play grounders.

Meanwhile, second baseman Brian Roberts sat out a second day with a sore left groin, and Mazzilli said Roberts would not accompany the team on its trip today to Fort Myers to play Boston.

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