Orioles flu bug continues to spread

Orioles flu bug continues to spread

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Luke Scott became the latest Baltimore player to come down with the flu bug on Monday, when the left fielder had to leave hours before the Orioles took the field against the Dodgers. Scott is the sixth player to get sick to some degree this spring, and three coaches have also fallen ill in the close confines of Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

Outfielder Jay Payton was the first to get sick, and he missed more than a week with symptoms that required antibiotic treatment. Fellow outfielders Chris Roberson and Tike Redman have also missed time with a similar ailment. So did infielders Brian Roberts and Scott Moore, but it's unclear to what extent any of the illnesses are connected to each other.

"It's better than it was," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "It just seems to be a different guy."

Trembley said he'd never been around a camp with so many illnesses, a sentiment shared by first baseman Kevin Millar. Richie Bancells, Baltimore's head athletic trainer, said he saw a similar phenomenon a few years ago.

"It happens from time to time in certain years," Bancells said. "It seems like there's something down here that two or three guys get, and then it just sweeps through the whole camp because of the close quarters we have in here.

"It seems to be like two or three guys a day we're sending to the doctor."

First-base coach John Shelby and hitting coach Terry Crowley have also fallen to similar symptoms, as has former Oriole Scott McGregor, who's currently serving as the pitching coach for Class A Aberdeen.

Bancells said the Orioles have done all they can to quarantine those affected, but have yet to find a way to protect the rest of the clubhouse. For now, they're doing the best they can and hoping that it passes before the end of the spring. With 54 players nestled inside a tiny clubhouse, Bancells said, it's nearly impossible to stop things from spreading.

"The place gets cleaned at night and all the measures are being tried that we can possibly do," he said. "But it's tough."

Millar, who spoke about taking Scott's advice on nutritional supplements during the weekend, joked that he may have to re-evaluate after watching his teammate get sick.

"My source to health is sick," Millar said Monday. "That cayenne pepper pill doesn't work. I might need to go back to two cheeseburgers and french fries from McDonald's. I play my best when I play on two cheeseburgers and french fries."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.