By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer March 4, 2004 FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston broke his right ring finger Thursday in an exhibition game against the Florida Marlins, leaving his status for opening day in doubt.
The injury occurred in the first inning of the Orioles' first game of spring. Hairston hit a leadoff single against Josh Beckett, stole second base and then broke a bone in his knuckle while stealing third.
Hairston eventually scored, but was pulled from the game and sent to a hand specialist.
If surgery is required, Hairston almost certainly will miss the Orioles' opener on April 4 against the Boston Red Sox.
Hairston is competing against Brian Roberts for the starting job. Hairston started on opening day last year, but broke his foot in May and remained on the disabled list until September. He finished with a .271 batting average in 58 games.
Hairston was held out of Wednesday's intrasquad game as a precaution after some questions arose from the physical he took on the first day of camp. After undergoing an MRI and passing a stress test, Hairston was cleared to play Thursday.
``I'm as healthy as you can possibly be. I'm just happy it's over with and I can go out and play,'' he said before the game.
Roberts, meanwhile, was held out of Thursday's game because of back spasms. He is expected to return on Friday.
Utility infielder Mark McLemore, signed to a minor league contract last month, replaced Hairston in the lineup against the Marlins.
Fantasy sports are ruled by the 50-50-90 rule...
Anytime you have a 50/50 choice between two players, 90% of the time, you'll get it wrong
as a hairston owner, this is the last thing i wanted to hear... great news that he not only got a single and a run off beck... but TWO stolen bases!!... this kid would be so fun to watch if only he can stay healthy .... keep this updated if he needs surgery please.
I was planning on drafting him at the right time but now I'm not so sure. The Miami Herald had an article about the heart problem. Hiarston complained of flu symptoms yet is scheduled for an echocardiogram, not very encouraging