Fractured Jaw Almost Cost Jordan More Than Weight

Posted: May 12, 1992

Ricky Jordan still has a craving for a good steak and a spot in the starting lineup. And now that his broken jaw has healed and he's back in the major leagues, the Phillies first baseman hopes he never sees another milkshake, especially the kind that nearly killed him.

After Jordan was hit in the face by a batting-practice liner on March 11, his jaw was wired shut. For a few days, he consumed only what he could squeeze through a straw. Then he got tired of protein drinks and juices.

"I got so sick of that stuff that I wouldn't eat," said Jordan, whose weight at one point plummeted from his normal 210 to 192. "I went a day or two without eating anything."

Passing a Long John Silver's one day, he got an idea.

"It smelled so good," Jordan said yesterday. "So I went in and bought some fish, some shrimp, some french fries. Then I went home and put it all in a blender and made a kind of milkshake out of it all."

After a few sips of the fried-food concoction, Jordan began to feel sick. And for someone whose jaw is wired shut, vomiting can prove fatal.

"The doctor had given me a pair of wire cutters," he said. "I went running around the house, looking for them, but I couldn't find them. I was getting really scared. But then I took a drink of water, and that seemed to settle everything down."

The wires are gone now, and Jordan, who has his weight back up to about 200, says he is eating everything but steak.

"I've eaten a lot of meatloaf and pasta the last week or so," he said.

His teammates gave the noticeably thinner Jordan a good-natured ribbing on his first day back. They said he looked like "a black Von Hayes" or like Toby Borland, a skinny Scranton reliever.

"Man, your face even lost weight," Mitch Williams said.

Activated from the disabled list on Sunday, Jordan said he would tackle his first steak in several months sometime next week as he tried to get his weight back to 210. He knows he is not hitting with the same power he had at his normal weight. Jordan was 5 for 15 with Scranton on his rehabilitation assignment, but hit no home runs.

"In Scranton, I hit some balls good, but they would get caught at the warning track," he said. "The ball's not jumping off my bat the way I'm capable of."

Phils manager Jim Fregosi said he intended to start Jordan at first base tomorrow night against San Francisco lefthander Trevor Wilson. Until then, the righthanded hitter will be available to pinch-hit.

"He adds a lot to our club off the bench," Fregosi said. "It makes a difference to the other manager if he knows Ricky Jordan is sitting on our bench."

Fregosi said that, against many lefthanded pitchers, Jordan will play first, John Kruk will move to left field and Mariano Duncan will play second.

In the spring, the Phils tried playing Jordan in the outfield. But because of the injury, Fregosi said, that experiment will be put on hold until next spring.

*

Dale Murphy had some words of advice for Wes Chamberlain after the leftfielder was sent down to Scranton on Sunday.

"I told him that this wasn't the end of the world," Murphy said. "I told him that he already did one thing that a lot of players in the big leagues don't, and that is play hard all the time.

"I told him he's young, he's strong and he's got that going for him. He'll be back."

Unbeaten Bill Swift (6-0 with a 1.29 ERA) will pitch for the Giants tonight against the Phils' Tommy Greene (2-1), who will be making only his first start in two weeks because of tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. . . . San Francisco's Trevor Wilson (2-2) will oppose winless Kyle Abbott (0-5) tomorrow night. . . . All-star voting began last night. The Phillies on the ballot are: Darren Daulton, Kruk, Mickey Morandini, Kim Batiste, Dave Hollins, the departed Chamberlain, Lenny Dykstra and Murphy. Noticeable by his absence is Duncan (.309 with 14 RBIs).

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