Center fielder Mike Devereaux, one of the hottest hitters in the Baltimore Orioles lineup the past two weeks, was removed from the game with a strained groin in the third inning.
Devereaux apparently suffered the injury as he pulled up at second base after a single by Cal Ripken. The strain was described by club officials as slight, but he was removed for precautionary reasons. Joe Orsulak replaced him on the bases and also took his place in the outfield.
Though Devereaux is not expected to be out long, the club will miss his bat. He has been on a 22-for-58 tear and has raised his average from .196 to .289 during the past 14 games.
Cushions worth keeping
Hang on to your seats. Today is Seat Cushion Day at Memorial Stadium, which would not rate a mention here if not for what happened the last time the Orioles handed out seat cushions on a promotional day.
That was May 16, 1986, and hardly a fan is now alive who doesn't remember that strange game.
The Oakland Athletics scored an 8-4 victory in which infielder Tony Phillips hit for the cycle, but the thing that made it most memorable was the shower of seat cushions that littered the field and delayed the game.
Orioles officials are confident that the fans will hold on to this year's model. The new cushion has the Memorial Stadium commemorative logo on it.
"This one's a keeper," public relations director Rick Vaughn said.
Roster move still possible
General manager Roland Hemond seemed close to making a roster move late Friday night, but he said yesterday that nothing appeared imminent.
"But I don't know," he said. "The phone could ring."
Joyner vs. Ballard
First baseman Wally Joyner has been one of the hottest hitters in the American League, which can't come as great news to today's starter, Jeff Ballard.
The left-handed-hitting Joyner has defied the right-left percentages to hammer Ballard. He has a career .391 batting average with two home runs in 23 at-bats.
Joyner extended his hitting streak to 14 games last night. He has the top batting average (.391) in the major leagues. He is batting .463 (31-for-67) on the road.
Hoiles in DH spot
Manager Frank Robinson placed catcher Chris Hoiles in the designated hitter role against Angels left-hander Chuck Finley last night, even though Hoiles is batting just .164.
Hoiles' batting average never has topped .200 this year, but hitting coach Tom McCraw thinks it's just a matter of time.
"He has been hitting the ball pretty well," McCraw said. "A couple of breaks and he'll be up over that Mendoza line.
"I have a lot of confidence in Chris. I think he's going to be a productive hitter in this league, but you'd like to see him chink one in once in a while. You get one a day like that and pretty soon you're getting two or three and you're back where you want to be."
Hoiles has had only one multiple-hit game this year, a two-hit performance April 17.
Milligan coming around?
McCraw said he is cautiously optimistic about the resurgence of first baseman Randy Milligan at the plate.
Milligan came into the game with base hits in six of his previous seven games (8-for-23), but McCraw wants to see him keep it going.
"He's definitely on his way," McCraw said. "I like the way he's taking pitches. He's not jumping at the ball the way he was earlier. He's getting there."
The .214 average Milligan brought into the game was the highest he's batted since he started 1-for-4 (.250) on Opening Day.
Angels discuss Valenzuela
The Angels have been involved in negotiations with agent Tony DeMarco, who represents idle pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.
Valenzuela has been a free agent since the Dodgers waived him during spring training. The Angels apparently think he could help them but are not willing to put up the $1 million base salary Valenzuela is seeking.