Ripken gets back to basics, finds average soars to .350
When Cal Ripken was batting .209 last June and dropped from third to sixth in the batting order, he decided it was time for serious experimentation.
"I've been trying a lot of things ever since, but generally I've just gone back to the basics, spread out a little bit," the Baltimore Orioles' shortstop said yesterday. "It has just carried over through the winter and spring training."
Ripken is scorching with a .350 batting average and 20 RBI in 16 games, as many as he had last year after 38 starts.
FTC And he said he is not going to let injured Glenn Davis' absence from the No. 4 spot affect him adversely.
"At times I might think that way," he said. "But everyone has t contribute offensively. It made me feel good with Glenn behind me, but Dewey [Dwight Evans] is a good clutch hitter. I'm just as confident in him."
Ripken is using the entire field, as he did when he first arrived in the big leagues as the 1982 American League Rookie of the Year.
"That comes from waiting a little longer and seeing the ball a little better," he said. "You can make solid contact going the opposite way."
And the men in front of him are getting on base more frequently, providing more opportunities to knock in runs.
"Now, I'm coming up with men on first and second," he said. "They're out there while I'm swinging the bat well."
Ripken drove home four runs in yesterday's 5-4 victory, giving him 84 against Milwaukee, his high against one opponent.
Catcher Bob Melvin reported soreness in his neck after a vaidive for a foul pop-up in Saturday night's game, but the injury apparently is not serious.
"They said it's just a mild sprain," said Melvin, who was out of the lineup yesterday. "When I move my head a certain way, it's sore."
Melvin could have played if necessary and was available to hit.
Davis' journey begins
Davis will leave for New York today to learn what should be done about the spinal accessory nerve in his neck.
"Further details will be available as we go along," said general manager Roland Hemond, who met with Davis before the game.
Davis is on the 15-day disabled list.
Gomez changes gloves
Leo Gomez started at first base for the first time yesterdaand said it doesn't matter where he plays.
"This is much better than watching," said Gomez, filling in until the ninth inning while Randy Milligan rested. "To me, it's easier than third base . . . about the same thing in reverse."
Manager Frank Robinson said Milligan will be more or less a regular at first while Davis is on the disabled list.
"I was nervous last year," Gomez said. "It's easier now. I don't care where I am, as long as I get in there. My day is coming. I just don't know when."
The Texas Rangers yesterday signed left-hander Dan Boonto a minor-league contract. The former Oriole will be used as a starter at Class AAA Oklahoma City. . . . Yesterday's attendance figure was revised from 32,989 to 33,086. . . . The Brewers' Gary Sheffield was removed from the game with a jammed left shoulder. . . . The victory ended a four-game losing streak against Milwaukee and was the Orioles' first in five one-run games. . . . Mike Devereaux had two doubles in his only at-bats against Jaime Navarro and is 7-for-13 lifetime against him. Devereaux has a .352 career average against the Brewers.