McDonald gets early-bird order He's Robinson's man for Opening Day

February 28, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manager Frank Robinson has named right-hander Ben McDonald the starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles' regular-season opener against the Chicago White Sox, but he apparently hasn't told McDonald yet.

"If that's true, that would be great," McDonald said. "It's hard to believe he has made up his mind already. I still think it will depend on how I throw this spring."

But Robinson confirmed a published report that he had decided on McDonald, saying that his performance in the second half of 1990 established him as the ace of the staff.

"It's been a dream of mine and a goal," McDonald said, "but right now, I need to look for my good mechanics and get ready to pitch."

McDonald is the most highly regarded pitcher on the staff, but Dave Johnson was the club's winningest pitcher in 1990 and had hoped to be the Opening Day starter.

"That would have been nice, and I think I deserved it," Johnson said, "but the important thing is to be one of the five guys who open the season in the rotation."

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