Davis' debut in DH role: one pitch, one home run

ORIOLES NOTES

April 23, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It has been one new experience after another for Baltimore Orioles first baseman Glenn Davis, who spent the first night game at the new Comiskey Park in an unfamiliar role.

He was in the designated-hitter slot for the first time in his major-league career last night, thanks to a slight hamstring strain that might otherwise have kept him out of the lineup completely.

The White Sox undoubtedly wish it had, because Davis celebrated his first at-bat as a DH with a long home run to stake the Orioles to a two-run lead in the first inning. He jumped on the first pitch he saw from White Sox right-hander Alex Fernandez and pulled it deep into the bleachers in left.

He has been struggling at the plate, but his third home run of the young season tied Cal Ripken for the club lead in that department until Ripken homered in the eighth.

The newness of the stadium was only a secondary consideration. Every American League stadium is new to Davis, who came to the Orioles from the Houston Astros in January. But the designated-hitter role figured to require some adjustment, since Davis has been a full-time first baseman since he broke into the major leagues.

He did not seem terribly concerned about it before the game. Apparently, it's just a matter of finding something to do between at-bats.

"I'll be moving around a lot, I'll tell you that," he said. "When I got a day off in Houston, after six or seven innings they wanted me back in the game because I was driving everybody crazy."

Davis didn't really need a new challenge yet. He's still feeling his way around at the plate, batting just .231.

The strained left hamstring is one of three minor injuries to hamper Davis in the early going. He suffered a neck strain during spring training and took a fastball off his lower back last week in Milwaukee. But he has played in each of the club's 11 games.

Ripken adds 3 RBI

Cal Ripken moved into second place among the American League's RBI leaders with three RBI in last night's 8-7 loss to the White Sox.

Ripken drove in a run with a fifth-inning force-out, homered in the eighth and singled home a run in the ninth to increase his season total to 14.

Oakland Athletics outfielder Dave Henderson drove in his 16th run last night.

2 relievers give up first runs

Left-hander Mike Flanagan and right-hander Mark Williamson each gave up his first run of 1991 in the seventh inning of last night's 8-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Flanagan pitched two innings and gave up a run on three hits, the run scoring when Williamson gave up an RBI double to Sammy Sosa after taking the mound with a runner on second and two outs. Williamson gave up a run of his own when Ozzie Guillen followed with a single to center.

Flanagan's scoreless streak had reached 11 1/3 innings. Williamson came into the game with 6 2/3 scoreless innings but did not record an out before giving up the run.

Orsulak gets third assist

Left fielder Joe Orsulak fielded a single by Frank Thomas in the seventh inning and threw a strike to the plate to gun down Cory Snyder trying to score from second. It was Orsulak's third assist of the year, three more than any other Orioles outfielder.

Veeck to be honored

The press box at Comiskey Park will be dedicated to the late Bill Veeck, a former owner of the White Sox, at 4:30 p.m. today.

Speakers will include Hemond, Chicago Tribune columnist Jerome Holtzman, South Bend Tribune columnist Bill Gleason, former White Sox broadcaster Jack Brickhouse and Veeck's widow, Mary Francis.

Miscellaneous

The starting time of tomorrow night's game has been moved to 8:35 from 8:05 to accommodate an ESPN telecast.

Hemond lost in paradise

General manager Roland Hemond looked disoriented. He was a member of the White Sox front office for 18 years but was out of his element in the third-floor lobby at the new Comiskey Park.

"I can't believe it," Hemond laughed. "I'm in Comiskey Park and I don't know where I am."

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