BALTIMORE, MAY 24 -- Third baseman Craig Worthington didn't play tonight after being plunked on the left wrist Wednesday by one of Eric King's fastballs. X-rays showed no breaks, but Worthington wore a plastic protective cast when not taking treatment on the wrist, which he described as "very sore."

He might miss a couple more games, but hopes to play Friday when the Orioles open a three-game series in Arlington, Tex.

"He got me flush on the bone, so I guess I'm lucky," he said. "It's just a bruise and I'm going to try to get back in there in Texas."

He probably won't, because Manager Frank Robinson typically gives injuries at least one extra day to heal. That's what he did with second baseman Bill Ripken, who missed a third straight game even though he says he's ready to play.

He has a pinched nerve in his lower back, and when the injury occurred Monday night it looked as if he might have to go on the disabled list. The Orioles even delayed Sam Horn's rehabilitation assignment to Rochester because they thought Horn might have to be added to the roster.

However, Ripken said he has improved dramatically since Monday and that he's ready to play if asked.

Milacki Studying Films

Bob Milacki has been one of several Orioles in the film room recently and believes watching some tapes of himself pitching last season has helped him find reasons he's lost his last three starts.

"There definitely is a difference in some mechanical things," he said. "My shoulder is flying open a little and I'm getting my fastball too low. I can't get it up, and when I do get it up it's in the middle of the strike zone."

He said a bigger problem may not be mechanical, but psychological. "I'm just not relaxed," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing. My wife just had a rough time with a pregnancy and maybe that's been on my mind more than I know. I think I've felt the pressure of the team not doing well and that I've put too much of it on my shoulders."

Forgotten Man

The Orioles have apologized to outfielder Joe Orsulak for not nominating him for a spot on the all-star ballot. He has led the team in hitting two years in a row and leads again this season with a .309 average.

General Manager Roland Hemond said he has vowed to write in Orsulak's name and "that all my children will too."