Orel Hershiser is ready to pitch in exhibition games, anyway.

That's what the doctor for the 1988 National League Cy Young Award winner said Wednesday after Hershiser threw for the second time in spring training.

"He felt no pain in his shoulder and the ball was moving very well," said Dr. Frank Jobe, who operated on Hershiser's shoulder 10 months ago. "If he's excited, I'm excited."Jobe said he didn't know if Hershiser would be ready for opening day, but that exhibition games were probable.

"I felt good," Hershiser said. "This outing was progress, compared to the last outing. I hope they all feel this good."

Hershiser threw 62 pitches in a 10-minute session at Vero Beach. On Sunday, he threw 52 pitches.

While Hershiser was continuing his comeback, Oakland was wondering when Rickey Henderson would come to town. The American League MVP was late, which isn't unusual for him.

"I'm not terribly surprised Rickey's not here because of an undercurrent of unhappiness about his contract," Oakland general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Henderson is entering the second season of a four-year, $12 million deal. When the deal was agreed to after the 1989 season, Henderson and Kirby Puckett were the only $3 million-a-year players in baseball. Henderson since has dropped to a tie for 35th on the contract list.

At Tempe, Ariz., Ken Griffey Jr. was the lone no-show as the Seattle Mariners began full workouts. But he's not unhappy; he's worried.

Griffey flew back to Seattle late Tuesday after a series of apparent break-ins at his home. The alarm at Griffey's house went off twice Tuesday and has sounded at least four or five times in the past few days, team spokesman Dave Aust said.

Pedro Guerrero was late in arriving at the Dodgers' camp and Pascual Perez and Roberto Kelly were missing from Yankees' camp. Perez, however, always is late because of visa problems.

On the injury front, New York Mets left-hander Frank Viola threw without pain and said he thought he would be able to pitch without elbow surgery.

"I think it was more psychological than anything," Viola said. "Once I found out I can do anything to it, I can live with it. If the last two days are any indication, I'm not going to concern myself with it."

The medical news was bad for Cleveland first baseman Keith Hernandez, who probably will need back surgery.

Dr. Louis Keppler reviewed magnetic resonance imaging scans and concluded that Hernandez has a herniated disk in the lower back.

"We are entertaining the possibility of Keith requiring an operation," Keppler said. "And sooner rather than later, maybe in a couple of weeks. Keith wants to get a second opinion Monday or Tuesday, then he'll get back to us."

In other camp news on Wednesday:

- Atlanta first baseman Nick Esasky, who missed most of the 1990 season because of vertigo, participated in the Braves' first full-scale workout. Esasky had no complaints of dizziness following the workout that lasted about three hours. He fielded ground balls and soft liners in the infield, but didn't take throws.

- Philadelphia pitcher Ken Howell, recovering from an injured right shoulder, threw 50 pitches and felt fine.

- Toronto exercised the contract option for Dave Stieb. The left-hander was scheduled to make $1.7 million in 1991, but Toronto said it had renegotiated the deal, agreed to on March 8, 1985. Stieb will receive approximately $9.75 million over three years if the options for 1992 and 1993 are exercised.

- Catcher Benito Santiago still was unhappy that San Diego didn't agree to a mutli-year contract.

- Boston manager Joe Morgan plans to return five-time American League batting champion Wade Boggs to the top of the Red Sox' batting order.