Baltimore Orioles third baseman Cal Ripken, in Atlanta today to participate in the All-Century Team presentation before Game 2 of the World Series, said his rehabilitation from back surgery remains on track for a full recovery by spring training. He also said he has not been asked by the Orioles for any input on the team's two key vacancies.
"I haven't focused on" the Orioles' off-the-field turnover, Ripken said. "My back issue is first and foremost. I don't mean that in a selfish way, but I know I have a rehab in front of me. . . . Everything else is secondary."
The Orioles are in the process of interviewing candidates for their vacant manager's job and will also hire a new general manager. The team fired manager Ray Miller and general manager Frank Wren following the season.
"I don't think it's my place" to provide unsolicited input, Ripken said. "You have to be careful how you use that influence if it exists. I never thought it was my place, out of respect to those who make those decisions."
Ripken, who had surgery to decompress the nerve-root inflammation in his lower back on Sept. 23, said he expects to begin a rehabilitation program in early November.
"You obviously have to make adjustments as you go, but [the rehab program] has been pretty much formulated," he said. "I'm just waiting for the word from the doctor to go."
Ripken, 39, was elected as one of three shortstops, along with Honus Wagner and Ernie Banks, on baseball's 30-man All-Century Team.
"To try to understand this honor, that takes time," Ripken said. "Sitting back in your rocking chair, reviewing your career, maybe you'll become philosophical about it. But right now, it's just cool to be included."