Milligan wants to be more than a face in the first-base crowd

January 11, 1991|By Kent Baker

If three's a crowd vying for a position, then four or five must be a throng.

The acquisition of Glenn Davis yesterday left the Baltimore Orioles with a number of candidates to start at first base next season, but the incumbent No. 1, Randy Milligan, isn't giving up just yet.

"It could have been worse," Milligan said. "I could have been gone [in the trade]. I certainly didn't want that. Times are changing, but I want to stay here."

Milligan started most of 1990 at first until a separated shoulder virtually finished his season after Aug. 7. Rookie David Segui, Sam Horn, Ron Kittle (no longer an Oriole) and catchers Mickey Tettleton and Chris Hoiles all played the position when Milligan was injured or resting.

Now, Davis is in the mix. "It's real crowded over there," Milligan said. "It's kind of hard to say the job is yours when they have an All-Star first baseman.

"At the moment, I'm just looking at playing first, but I am thinking about getting a fielder's glove out of the closet."

Manager Frank Robinson and general manager Roland Hemond called Milligan yesterday to reassure him. Robinson said at the news conference, "Right now, Randy Milligan will probably open at first base."

But, in a phone hookup from Houston, Davis made no secret of his preference for first over the outfield or designated hitter.

"It's been a long time since I've been in the outfield," said Milligan. "My first two years [1981 and 1982] in pro ball I was out there, but I don't have the arm for it. I'm thumbing it up there from first base."

Milligan preferred to look at the bright side -- the added dimension Davis brings to a batting order that now looks potent.

"If we find a position for everybody, we've gone from no offense to a pretty good lineup," he said. "If you get in a slump, you might be hitting eighth or ninth on this team. There's good firepower. I don't see us having a shortage now."

He said Davis in Memorial Stadium brings "frightening prospects. If you look at where he's hitting all those home runs [the cavernous Astrodome], any kind of year here and he'll get 30 to 40. I couldn't even get them out of that place in batting practice."

Milligan said he is not taking anything for granted but will consider the position his "until they tell me otherwise. He [Davis] has had some injury problems. Maybe they're just thinking DH.

Yesterday morning, Milligan was watching ESPN, which was reporting an imminent trade of Davis to California for Wally Joyner.

"I kind of relaxed after that," he said, "but then Roland called me to let me know what happened. All I know is, anything can change in baseball."

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