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Orioles Notebook

Ainsworth Leans Toward Surgery

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 17, 2005; Page D03

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 16 -- Barring a change of heart, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kurt Ainsworth will have season-ending surgery to repair a partially torn labrum and rotator cuff and a divot in his right shoulder. The pitcher, who had spoken about possible retirement several days ago, said he is committed to pitching again.

"I'm still 26," Ainsworth said. "Even if it's two years, I'd still be 28 and still a relatively young pitcher if I'm healthy. I just have to take my time. I'm going to hit the rehab real hard if I decide to have surgery. I've been through this before with certain things, especially with my elbow in college. These little setbacks make you stronger if you get through them.

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"I was probably frustrated that day. The more I sit back and think about it, doctors are getting better at these surgeries. They're starting to have better success rates."

Ainsworth will spend the next few days contemplating surgery or whether he'd prefer to rehab the shoulder. Initially the team said the pitcher would rest for 10 days and then begin a throwing program. "You know your own body and I feel like rehab might not be the best way to go right now," Ainsworth said.

Julio to Debut

Reliever Jorge Julio will make his spring debut Sunday against the New York Mets in Fort Lauderdale. Julio did not throw off a mound for three weeks while recovering from a strained right forearm. He was cleared to throw last week and has thrown several bullpen sessions and live batting practice. On Friday, Julio will throw in a simulated game . . .

Matt Riley continued to struggle in his bid to win the fifth starter spot. In Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Riley yielded two runs in two innings. James Baldwin, another candidate for the rotation, also gave up two runs in two innings.

Eric DuBose had his best outing of the spring, yielding one hit in three scoreless innings. Enrique Wilson continued his bid to make the team, getting three hits, including a home run. Melvin Mora, who played for the first time since Sunday because of flu-like symptoms, had two hits.

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