SARASOTA, Fla. -- Ben McDonald got a feeling for his role in the history of the Orioles and Memorial Stadium here yesterday.
Before the Orioles' 7-0 win over the White Sox in the openinexhibition game, McDonald met the two pitchers who started the first game at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles' Bob Turley and Virgil Trucks, who pitched for the White Sox that day, were pre-game visitors as part of the Orioles' preparation for their final home opener in the old park.
"It was an honor to meet the gentleman who started the wholthing off, and the man who opposed him," said McDonald, who is scheduled to start the season opener April 8. "It was definitely a special feeling."
McDonald was asked if the names Turley and Trucks meananything to him. "I hate to say it," said the big righthander, "but I had never heard of either of them before."
Which Turley found easily understandable. "Heck, his daprobably wasn't even born when that game was played," quipped the man they used to call "Bullet Bob."
For the record Larry McDonald, Ben's dad, was 14 years olwhen the first game was played at Memorial Stadium April 15, 1954.
* WHAT PITCHING PROBLEMS? To say that the Orioles' pitchinstaff had a good start in the exhibition season would be a gross understatement.
McDonald worked three scoreless innings, retiring eight in a robefore a couple of ground balls got through the infield for hits. "You'd like to be as perfect as possible, but it was probably good that I got to throw a few pitches out of the stretch," said McDonald.
Jose Mesa followed McDonald and allowed only one hit over thnext three innings before Dave Johnson (two) and Kevin Hickey (one) pitched the final three innings to preserve the shutout.
Mesa's performance was the most intriguing. He basically relieon a good fastball to keep the White Sox in check, throwing only three sliders, two curveballs and one changeup.
Mesa impressed the Orioles enough in seven starts last year tbe penciled in as the No. 2 starter behind McDonald.
* WEEKEND PITCHING: Jeff Robinson and Mike Mussina arscheduled to start the two games against the Yankees in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. Robinson, Anthony Telford, John Mitchell, Dan Boone and Francisco de la Rosa are the available pitchers for tomorrow's game.
Mike Flanagan will make his competitive debut Sunday alonwith Mussina, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Linskey and Mark Williamson. Both games will be broadcast by WBAL-AM 1090 at 1:05 p.m.
Bob Milacki and Jeff Ballard were two of the pitchers slated twork this afternoon against the Rangers at Port Charlotte. Jim Palmer will make his first exhibition appearance Monday (1:05, Home Team Sports and WBAL-AM) against the Boston Red Sox.
* THIS 'N THAT: Juan Bell was impressive as Bill Ripken's relieat second base. He made a good play to turn a line drive into a double play and had a single in two at-bats.
Sam Horn (home run and single) and Mike Devereaux (singledouble, sacrifice fly) were the only Orioles with more than one hit.