By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 13, 2008
BALTIMORE, Nov. 12 -- Melvin Mora underwent right shoulder surgery about a month after the season, though Baltimore Orioles President Andy MacPhail said the veteran third baseman is expected to be healthy in time for spring training.
MacPhail said the surgery was elective and unrelated to a baseball injury, although Mora battled lingering shoulder problems all of last season.
"He was looking to get some relief . . . from an arthritic condition," MacPhail said.
Former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer leaked word of the previously undisclosed procedure on Wednesday during a ceremony to unveil the team's new uniforms.
Mora and his agent, Lon Babby, did not return messages, and Manager Dave Trembley declined to comment.
Mora used a second-half surge to post his best offensive numbers since 2004. He hit .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBI. But Mora battled shoulder pain starting in spring training, when he injured it during a slide. Later in the season, he took a hard-hit ball off his shoulder while taking infield practice. The injury later required a cortisone shot.
About 2,500 fans attended the unveiling of the Orioles' revamped uniforms at a downtown Baltimore shopping mall. The changes are highlighted by the return of the script "Baltimore" on the team's road jerseys, a point of contention with some fans since the city name on the jersey was dropped after the 1972 season.
"I hope it works some magic for them, just like it did for us," former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell said. "We went to four World Series with these things on. We won a couple of division championships. If it works, that's terrific. I've always thought that something was remiss just having Orioles on the shirts. On the road, you should be Baltimore. And it felt pretty good to be Baltimore."
Other changes to the various uniform versions included a slight refining of the team's primary Oriole Bird logo, the addition of orange and black striping to jersey sleeves and pants, and the introduction of a sleeve patch featuring the Maryland state flag.
Also Wednesday, MacPhail said contract extension talks with second baseman Brian Roberts and right fielder Nick Markakis are in the early stages.
"We really haven't bandied about any numbers," MacPhail said.
Roberts, whose name has again come up in trade rumors, is entering the final year of his contract; Markakis is eligible for arbitration this offseason for the first time. Markakis, perhaps Baltimore's most promising young player, said he is content to let the process play out.
"It's baby steps right now," Markakis said. "Both sides are talking, but it's a process you've got to take slow."
Orioles Note: Reliever Dennis Sarfate said he should be healthy by spring training after undergoing surgery to repair a broken collarbone.