McKnight goes to first, as Milligan gets breakOAKLAND...

Oriole Notes

May 08, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

OAKLAND, CALIF. — McKnight goes to first, as Milligan gets break

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Struggling first baseman Randy Milligan got last night off and probably won't be in the starting lineup today when the Baltimore Orioles close out the two-game series against the Oakland Athletics.

Manager Frank Robinson has benched Milligan temporarily to give him a mental break from the frustration that has come with a lengthy batting slump.

Milligan, who is hitting .173 with no home runs and three RBI, was replaced at first base last night by new arrival Jeff McKnight, who was recalled from the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings on Monday night.

"I just want to give him a chance to relax," Robinson said. "I believe in playing a guy. You can't get out of a slump sitting on the bench, but you don't want to let it go too long."

The slow start is nothing new to Milligan. He entered this season with a career .228 batting average in April, the lowest of any month of the season.

Davis ends examination tour

First baseman Glenn Davis was uncomfortable when he arrived at the Oakland Coliseum yesterday, but it was not as a result of the neck injury that has sidelined him the past couple of weeks.

He was still feeling the effects of a mylogram (a test in which dye is injected into the spinal column), the final test of the two-week fact-finding tour he took to determine the best course of treatment for his neck injury.

"I'm one sore puppy," said Davis, who has been poked and prodded in four states.

Davis said he is satisfied that the preponderance of medical opinion does not point to the need for surgery to correct the problem, which originally was diagnosed as a damaged spinal accessory nerve. He has been given more exercises to do to regain strength in his right shoulder, but still does not have a timetable for a return to the Orioles lineup.

"Everyone has said that we're on the right path," Davis said. "I've got to rehabilitate the muscle and rebuild it, but I've already taken great strides in my recovery. Before long, I'll be back to normal."

Ripken out of lineup again

Second baseman Bill Ripken was out of the lineup again because of the finger sprain he suffered in Sunday's game against the California Angels.

"He's all right," Robinson said before the game. "I'm sure he'll poke his head in here and tell me he wants to play."

Tim Hulett has started in his place each of the past two games.

Blast from the past

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the day that Robinson hit a ball completely out of Memorial Stadium. Robinson remembers that day well, but he doesn't have a lot of firsthand knowledge of the flight of his most famous home run.

"I didn't watch it," Robinson said. "They told me when I got back to the dugout that it went all the way out of the stadium, but I didn't believe them."

The ball traveled 451 feet on the fly and came to a stop 540 feet from home plate. It is not, however, the longest home run hit at Memorial Stadium. That distinction belongs to Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.

Gomez takes demotion hard

Third baseman Leo Gomez was stunned when he was informed late Monday night that he had been optioned back to the minor leagues, but he eventually came to agree with the Orioles that it would be the best thing for him.

"He took it very hard," Robinson said. "It was one of the toughest things I have ever had to do. But it is a tough thing for a young player who is used to playing full time to adjust to coming off the bench. We wasn't doing what he is capable of doing. We want him to go back and settle down and get back in a good groove."

Gomez was batting .222 in 16 games at the major-league level and had not driven in a run.

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