Milligan loses ball in lights, but it's part of leftfield apprenticeship

Orioles notebook

April 18, 1991|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

MILWAUKEE -- Randy Milligan got his first painful outfield lesson last night. It wasn't disastrous, but it did cost the Orioles a run in the 7-3 loss to the l Milwaukee Brewers.

A line drive off the bat of B.J. Surhoff went into the lights and over the head of Milligan in leftfield, enabling Jim Gantner to score from second base.

"I lost it as soon as I started to run," said Milligan. "The guys told me when that happens to keep running, it [the ball] will come out."

It did, but too late to do any good for Milligan, who was still headed in the opposite direction.

"It was right on top of me when I saw it," said Milligan, who tried to make a jumping catch. "It's something I've got to learn."

The difficult part of learning how to deal with a ball that crosses paths with the lights is that there is no way to practice. The only time to field a ball in the dark and under the lights is during a game.

Which is a tough time to practice, but the only time available for Milligan.

* BIG MAC UPDATE: Ben McDonald is due to return to Baltimore today and will throw on the side prior to tomorrow night's game against Texas. After pitching coach Al Jackson monitors that workout, a decision will be made about his next start.

McDonald threw 74 pitches in five innings of an extended spring training game in Sarasota yesterday. No official statistics were kept, but McDonald gave up two runs before leaving. He talked (( to Jackson after the game and reported that he threw without pain.

The Orioles' rotation would be least disrupted if McDonald could start Sunday's game against the Rangers. Jackson indicated that was a possibility, but not a probability.

The Orioles seem to be leaning toward bringing Dave Johnson back with three days of rest for Sunday's game. That would leave his spot open for McDonald Monday night in Chicago. Another possibility is the recall of Bob Milacki from Hagerstown, but since the Orioles don't need a fifth starter again until the last day of the month, they may hold off before making that move.

When McDonald comes off the disabled list, the Orioles will have to drop a player to make room. Whether it is a pitcher or a position player depends on whether manager Frank Robinson decides to stay with nine pitchers for another week, or go with a full staff of 10.

* THE NEXT GENERATION: Ex-Oriole catchers Larry Haney and Rick Dempsey, now coaching and playing, respectively, for the Milwaukee Brewers, both have sons playing in the minor leagues.

Chris Haney, a righthanded pitcher, was a No. 2 draft pick of the Montreal Expos last year and is currently pitching for Double A Harrisburg in the Eastern League. John Dempsey, a switch-hitting catcher, was a 10th round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals two years ago and is playing for Springfield (Ill.) in the Single A Midwest League.

Rick Dempsey will get a chance to see his son play at nearby Beloit (Wis.), but Larry Haney probably won't be as fortunate. He will be in Baltimore a week from Saturday, when Chris is scheduled to pitch at Hagerstown -- but both games are scheduled to be played at night.

* PITCHING PROBABLES: Jeff Robinson (0-1, 22.50) and Kenny Rogers (0-1, 33.75) will pitch the first game of the series between the Orioles and Rangers tomorrow night.

In Saturday afternoon's game Jose Mesa (1-1, 3.18) will face Nolan Ryan (1-1, 5.14). Ryan, who beat the Orioles for the first time in 15 years last Sunday in Texas, will be trying to win for the first time in 16 years at Memorial Stadium.

Kevin Brown (1-1, 5.06) will go against the Orioles' undetermined starter on Sunday.

* PERCENTAGES PAY OFF: The matchup Brewers manager Tom Treblehorn didn't want in the first game of the Brewers-Orioles series paid off for him last night. With Sam Horn scheduled to hit with two on and two out in the seventh inning, Treblehorn summoned lefthander Mark Lee, who ultimately struck out Leo Gomez after the pinch-hitter fouled off 11 pitches.

Two days before, with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning, Treblehorn brought righthander Edwin Nunez in to face Horn, preferring that to a Lee-Gomez matchup.

Horn hit a grand slam to secure the Orioles' 7-2 win, so the HTC Brewers' manager wasn't going to tempt that matchup a second time. Call it a split.

* THIS 'N THAT: The Orioles needed a victory against the Brewers this afternoon to win their first two road series of the year for the first time since 1966.

Milligan's sixth-inning error last night was the first on this road trip and the third of the year for the Orioles. Texas leads the American League, having committed just one error in six games.

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