Embattled Robinson defends coaches
Baltimore Orioles manager Frank Robinson, who has been under fire himself the past two weeks, came to the defense of his coaching staff yesterday -- particularly pitching coach Al Jackson.
Jackson has been the target of public criticism for the way the club's pitching staff has performed through the first five weeks of the season, but Robinson says that it is "totally unjustified."
"Just as it is about the hitting coach [Tom McCraw]," he added. "You won't find two guys who know more about their trade or work harder at it."
Nevertheless, the Orioles pitching staff is giving up an average of 4.56 earned runs and the offense is averaging 3.89, which has made both Jackson and McCraw popular targets of the club's frustrated fan following.
"It's unfair," Robinson said. "You don't see them beating their chests when guys are going good or trying to take credit for their success. They are no different than they were in 1989. No one has ever said they didn't have time to work with someone."
Stewart misses start
Right-hander Dave Stewart would have been the starter for the Oakland Athletics last night if not for a pulled rib-cage muscle he suffered in a game against the Orioles Wednesday at the Oakland Coliseum.
Stewart had not missed a start since he entered the A's rotation at midseason in 1986. He has won 20 games or more in each of his four full seasons with the club since then, but that streak is almost certain to end if he does not return from the 15-day disabled list at the earliest opportunity.
The A's medical staff predicted at the time of the injury that Stewart would miss two or three starts.
Davis report to come soon
The Orioles expect to have a better idea on the outlook for injured first baseman Glenn Davis later in the week, according to general manager Roland Hemond.
Dr. Charles Silberstein still is compiling information from the physicians that Davis visited during the last trip.
"He'll look at him," Hemond said, "but we probably won't have everything together until the end of the week."
Davis appears to be making progress in his recovery from a damaged spinal accessory nerve in his neck, but there never has been a specific timetable for his return to normal activities.
McDonald impresses Robinson
The Orioles might have lost on Sunday, but Robinson was impressed with the performance of right-hander Ben McDonald.
McDonald gave up three hits during 6 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners, but gave up a two-run homer in the seventh inning and was left out of the decision when Gregg Olson lost the game in the eighth.
"His curveball hasn't been there the whole year," Robinson said, "but you have to be on the top of your game to do what he did Sunday, getting hitters out with just a fastball."
A's, Hawkins agree
Oakland GM Sandy Alderson confirmed that the club has reached a contract agreement with Andy Hawkins, who was released by the New York Yankees.
Hawkins is scheduled to join the club here tonight, but probably won't be activated for this series.
Hoiles breaks maiden
Oriole catcher Chris Hoiles hit his elusive first home run last night and said, "It's something I've been kind of waiting for. I'm glad it's out of the way. Now I can settle down."
Hoiles said he had to "get a hit because everybody else was. I'm just trying to hit the ball hard and let the home runs come. I wasn't too concerned about getting it because I've been hitting decently the last couple of weeks."
The bases-empty shot in the sixth inning provided only his second run batted in of the year.
Prospering at home
Jeff Robinson is developing a trend.
In starts away from Memorial Stadium, he is 0-2 with a 38.57 ERA. At home, he is 2-1 with a 1.19 ERA.
"When I was pitching here with the Tigers, I didn't do very well," he said. "This is a lot like Tiger Stadium, a small park. But in Detroit you can pitch to center field. Here there's nowhere."
The secret to his success at home?
"I realize we have a strong defense. So, instead of trying to make the perfect pitch all the time, I use it," he said.
Will they curtsy?
Robinson was coy regarding Queen Elizabeth II's visit tonight -- for security reasons.
"I know all of our players are going to get a chance to meet her, but it won't be in the clubhouse," he said.
"The eyes and attention of everybody will be on her. It's something special. You don't get a chance to meet a queen every day."
No TV tonight
The Orioles game tonight cannot be picked up by Channel 2 because of the major-league television contract. The agreement gives ESPN Wednesday night exclusivity, except for regional cable networks, such as Home Team Sports. HTS originally scheduled tonight's game, but is telecasting Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals instead. After learning of HTS' change, Channel 2 had sought to broadcast tonight's game, which will be attended by Queen Elizabeth II.
The A's have had 9 players on the DL, 1 more than all last year. No one in their normal lineup was out until late September in 1990.