Milligan back on active list for Birds

Oriole notebook

September 28, 1990|By Ken Rosenthal | Ken Rosenthal,Evening Sun Staff

CLEVELAND -- The Orioles reactivated Randy Milligan today. The first baseman-designated hitter has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7 after separating his left shoulder in a collision with Oakland catcher Ron Hassey.

He will be available for tonight's game at Cleveland. Milligan was batting .262 and 58 RBIs before the injury. He still shares the team's home run lead at 20 with Cal Ripken Jr.

The Streak is over.

Not Cal Ripken's. Dave Johnson's.

Cleveland's Alex Cole wasn't aware that no opponent had ever stolen a base off Johnson, so he was surprised to learn that last night he was the first. His big heist came on a pitchout, of all things.

Johnson pitched eight innings to earn his club-high 13th victory in the Orioles' 5-3 victory over Cleveland, but the first thing he talked about afterward was the demise of The Streak.

The happy demise, we should add.

"I'm glad it's over," Johnson said. "That was weighing too heavily on my mind. There's no reason to be thinking about stuff like that on the mound.

"All of a sudden you get out of your game plan, worrying about someone stealing a base. It would have been nice to have gone the whole year without allowing one. But it's over, and that's good."

Opponents were 0-for-9 off Johnson in two seasons, but he knew last night was a true test. Coles has 37 steals in 60 games with Cleveland. Johnson made a throwing error trying to hold him at first in the first inning.

Former Oriole Stan Jefferson led off the third with a single, and was promptly thrown out by catcher Mickey Tettleton on an attempted steal of second. Coles then drew a walk, setting the stage for another showdown.

"He's the quickest guy [to first] that I've seen this year," Coles said. "He's very tough to read. The only way I could go was to time him. It was all timing."

But on a pitchout?

"Everything has happened to us this year," Orioles manager Frank Robinson said. "The only error Bob Melvin had came on catcher's interference [Wednesday night]. The only stolen base off Johnson came on a pitchout."

"I wasn't even watching," Johnson said. "I got the pitchout sign, and I wasn't really paying attention. I'm thinking, 'I hope he goes. fTC He'll probably be out.' But that wasn't the case. He can fly, no doubt about that."

* STILL THE STOPPER: Truth be told, Johnson had no reason to be disappointed. He allowed just two runs in eight innings, and is now 9-0 after Orioles losses. Just like everyone predicted in spring training.

"He's one of those guys, if you see him warm up on the sandlots, you wouldn't give a dollar for him," Robinson said. "He's not very impressive even when he's out there. But he gets the job done."

Johnson is 8-1 against the AL East, 5-7 against the AL West. His final start will be against Toronto on Tuesday. "It should mean something," he said. "That's what's going to be exciting about it."

What a difference a year makes: Johnson also made his final start against Toronto last season, but he was trying to win the pennant for the Orioles instead of the Boston Red Sox.

He took a two-hitter and 3-1 lead into the eighth inning, but left after walking the leadoff hitter. The Blue Jays scored three times that inning to clinch the AL East.

* THE ORIOLES' EDISON: It's outfielder Dave Gallagher, the inventor of the Stride-Tutor, a plastic chain-like device with elastic wraps designed to prevent hitters from overstriding.

Gallagher already has sold approximately 7,000 by mail order at $18.50 each. His off-season goal is to start moving into stores. "If you order now, you get a free set of Ginsu knives," Gallagher said.

The Stride-Tutor has been purchased by teams in both the Little League and major leagues, Gallagher said. So far, Milwaukee has ordered the most.

"The A's have been using it the last few years too," Gallagher said, smiling. "That probably has a lot to do with why they're world champions."

Gallagher has yet to turn a sizable profit on the Stride-Tutor, but that could be changing. He holds the patents not only in the U.S., but in Canada and Japan as well.

* THE REAL RACE: 'Tis the season when major-league scouting directors hold the standings upside down trying to determine their draft position for next year. The Orioles right now are in a dogfight for the No. 3 pick.

It's the AL's turn to start the draft this season, and the Yankees are a lock to earn the No. 1 selection. Atlanta, the team with the worst record in the NL, will pick second. After that the leagues continue alternating, in reverse order of finish.

The race for 13th place:

Minnesota, 71-85.

Milwaukee, 71-85.

ORIOLES, 71-84.

Kansas City, 72-84.

* AROUND THE HORN: Here are the early probables for the season-ending series against Toronto: Jose Mesa vs. David Wells, Johnson vs. Bud Black and Dave Stieb vs. Ben McDonald.

Go, Cal, go! Cal Ripken, that running fool, stole his third base of the season last night. He is within one of his career-high set in 1986. Steve Finley had two steals to increase his club lead to 22.

He's no Dwight Evans, but Cleveland rookie Sandy Alomar Jr. has been something of a nemesis for Gregg Olson. Alomar had the game-winning hit off Olson June 19, and an RBI single off him as a pinch-hitter last night.

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