Through the looking glass, players early for DL date
It's getting difficult to tell the identity of the healthy Baltimore Orioles with a score card.
Like Alice in Wonderland, matters became curiouser and curiouser yesterday -- the team's biggest winner last year went on the disabled list, he was replaced by a player who hadn't been scheduled to be activated, and the club and the premier setup man had a miscommunication.
First problem first.
Manager Frank Robinson said he was "very surprised" that Dave Johnson joined the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin yesterday.
"He didn't mention anything about it until last [Saturday] night after the game," Robinson said.
Johnson was examined by club physician Dr. Charles Silberstein, who recommended no pitching, rest and a re-evaluation this week.
"I have not felt it in a game yet," Johnson said. "But last night I couldn't get loose and today it wasn't any better when I tested it out. This is the first time I've felt there is something wrong here."
He said he hasn't noticed any difficulty, but coach Elrod Hendricks detected "some inconsistency on my leg drive," so he was examined.
"To say this is hurting me on the mound is not the case," Johnson said. "It's not an excuse for what's happening. I'm 100 percent strength-wise.
Johnson has been ineffective this season as both a starter and reliever and is 0-3 with a 12.15 ERA since his first start, April 12.
Meanwhile, David Segui, who had traveled almost all Saturday night, was the player in waiting in case Mike Devereaux had to be disabled.
"It was a precautionary measure," said general manager Roland Hemond. "We found out Johnson and Mark Williamson were hurt late Saturday night, and Devereaux had already been hurt."
Segui was in Toledo, Ohio, completing a series with the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, then rode a bus to Columbus, Ohio, where he got word of the call-up at about 3 a.m. yesterday. He caught a 7 a.m. flight to Baltimore to be here in time for the game.
Now he is heading to Detroit, about 65 miles from Toledo. "It's all right. I'm here," he said.
"We never said he was here temporarily," Robinson said. "He just wasn't on today, then he was."
To pitch or not to pitch
Then there is the case of Williamson, another victim of a strained groin muscle Saturday night.
With a bullpen already depleted and Williamson hurt, Robinson was forced to use closer Gregg Olson in mop-up duty.
"We need pitching badly," said Robinson. "We're hurting. When we got five behind yesterday, there was no sense warming up [Bob] Milacki [tonight's starter]."
Trainer Richie Bancells understood Williamson to say, during the pitcher's visit to the training room, that he was unavailable. Bancells conveyed that to Robinson.
Williamson told reporters later: "I could pitch today. They never asked me. It was one of those things that wasn't advisable, but I'm always out there if I'm able."
Earlier in the day, he said, "I've pitched with a lot worse."
Roster move today
Hemond said the Orioles will make a roster move today, but "probably just one."
"We called three or four guys and they refused," Robinson said, jokingly. "They said, 'No, no, we'll stay where we are.' So it'll be a mystery guest."
Signs point to left-handed reliever Kevin Hickey, who is with the Class AA Hagerstown Suns in London, Ontario, a 2 1/2 -hour drive from Detroit.
Hickey leads the Suns with three saves and has a 2.35 ERA. He signed a minor-league contract four days after being released by the Orioles on April 2.
Hemond is talking with clubs about a trade and said, "There are a couple of possibilities."
Two days for Devereaux?
Devereaux strained a groin muscle while running at second base Saturday night and said, "Hopefully, I can get back in in Detroit."
"I made sure I stretched out well today. It was just a cool night after a warm one," he said.
Robinson said, "Maybe we'll try him Tuesday."
Righties OK with Milacki
Milacki, who will make his first start of the season tonight, says he believes he will be helped by the Tigers' having a predominantly right-handed lineup.
"Right now, that's not a bad thing at all," said Milacki. "I'm getting my slider over more consistently, and that could help me out."
Not that he needs much help at Tiger Stadium. Milacki is 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA there lifetime and has held the Tigers to a .127 batting average.
Williamson's loss Saturday night was his first at home since May 14, 1989. He had won 12 straight at Memorial Stadium. . . . Wally Joyner's 2-run single off Mike Flanagan Saturday marked the first time this year any inherited runners have scored against Flanagan. Joyner had a superb at-bat, fouling off five 3-2 pitches before delivering. . . . Opponents have at least 10 hits against the Orioles in 18 of 34 games. . . . Randy Milligan's RBI single in the sixth inning broke an 0-for-17 slump by the Orioles with men in scoring position.