Dave Johnson, who has not started a game since Aug. 14, will return to the Baltimore Orioles' pitching rotation tomorrow night.
Johnson has replaced John Mitchell for a start against the Detroit Tigers "for no particular reason," according to manager Frank Robinson.
The Orioles' biggest winner has made one appearance since returning from the disabled list last week, allowing singles to the only two batters he faced in a game against the Seattle Mariners.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Johnson. "It's where I want to be. Hopefully, the team will finish on a positive note, and I want to be part of that."
Johnson said his lower back is not fully recovered from the strain that disabled him, but added that the problem does not affect his pitching. He is no sorer after throwing than before throwing.
"I hope to go five or six innings, depending on the pitches," he said. "If I'm not giving up 75 hits and getting behind, I should go that long. But I'm not looking for my control to be perfect."
He faces a duel against Cecil Fielder, the major leagues' home-run leader with 45. Johnson has surrendered a team-high 26 homers.
"What a matchup," Johnson said. "I'm sure everybody is expecting him to hit one against me, but that's something to shoot for [none allowed]."
Johnson hopes for four or five more starts and for the team to finish as high as it can.
"Third place is reachable. That's better than fourth or fifth," he said.
Robinson said he has a good line on Mitchell and that he wants to keep the rookies, Ben McDonald, Anthony Telford and Jose Mesa, in the rotation.
Pete Harnisch is the only starter who has remained in the rotation all season.
*Robinson did not say whether Bob Milacki will receive another start this season.
"We know what he can do," said the manager. "I don't think it's necessary to get him in there, but if we see a spot, we will insert him."
Milacki, who wants to start, said, "If there is no room, there's nothing I can do. I'll help the team with what I'm doing now [bullpen work]."
He has pitched once since returning from the disabled list, going 2 2/3 innings against the Mariners and allowing two runs on a homer by Harold Reynolds.
*First baseman Randy Milligan said it is "100 percent guaranteed" he will play again this season, but "when, I don't know. I'm very close."
He took batting practice yesterday for the first time since he was disabled Aug. 17, more than a week after running into Oakland Athletics catcher Ron Hassey.
Milligan suffered a mildly separated left shoulder.
"I got the [cortisone] shot that I needed, and I have all my movement," he said. "It's just getting over the fear of the injury now."
*Playoff titles by the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings and Class A Frederick Keys marked the first time since 1976 that two Orioles affiliates have won titles in the same season. The Red Wings continue to the Triple A Alliance championship series beginning tonight in Rochester, N.Y.... Leo Gomez was named the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Month for August after batting .321 with seven homers and 23 RBI for Rochester.
*The Orioles finished with a 42-41 record against the Western Division and are one game over .500 in the past two seasons.... With 80 errorless games, the Orioles are 13 shy of tying the club record set last year.