DETROIT — Pitchers finding themselves in a hole on soft mound at 0) Memorial Stadium
DETROIT -- The Orioles pitching staff has been digging a hole for itself in more ways than one.
Several pitchers have complained that the mound at Memorial Stadium is so soft that it gets dug up too easily. The result is an uneven pitching surface that has some members of the bullpen up in arms.
"Sometimes, the hole that the starting pitcher makes when he lands [on his front foot] is so big that I've had to move to the other side of the rubber," said right-hander Mark Williamson. "It's hard to make that adjustment after pitching from one side of the rubber in the bullpen."
Williamson wasn't the only one to notice, though he is the one who has been critical of the condition of the mound since he slipped on it last year and fractured a bone in his pitching hand. Stopper Gregg Olson and right-hander Bob Milacki, who returned from the bullpen to start last night, agreed that the mound gets very chewed up.
"Though it's been so long since I've been out there, I don't remember," Olson said.
The problem apparently is most pronounced after right-hander Jeff Robinson leaves the mound. Robinson has an extremely long stride and he digs a deeper hole than any of the other starters, but even he said that the ground is too soft.
"I don't have a problem with the field," Robinson said. "It's the pitcher who come in after me who have the problem."
Manager Frank Robinson said that it shouldn't be a problem. The pitchers need to call the grounds crew to the mound if they find it unsuitable, even if it delays the game.
"If they are complaining, they are complaining to the wrong people," he said. "Nobody has to make any adjustment. If they tell me the mound is soft, I'll tell the grounds crew, and they will be glad to correct the problem. But if you complain to people who aren't going to do anything about it, it's not going to be corrected."
Devereaux still uncertain
Center fielder Mike Devereaux could return to normal activities today, but Robinson said that he will take no chances with one of the team's hottest hitters.
"We rested him [Sunday] and we'll rest him again today," Robinson said. "The thing about a groin strain, it's a tough area to treat. It's going to have to be 100 percent.
"My first inclination on a groin or hamstring is usually to put the guy right on the disabled list, but he seems to think it wasn't too bad. In the next day or two we'll make a decision."
Are groin pulls contagious?
Right fielder Dwight Evans had to leave the game for a pinch runner in the fourth inning last night after suffering a slight groin strain. He is the fourth Orioles player to be sidelined with a groin injury in the past three days.
Evans had two RBI singles in three at-bats before he was replaced by Randy Milligan. His condition will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
Segui gets start
David Segui, who was recalled from the Rochester Red Wings roster on Sunday, was in the starting lineup yesterday, playing first base in place of Randy Milligan against right-hander Walt Terrell.
Segui had been playing left field and first base at Rochester and probably will play a little of both with the Orioles, according to Robinson.
"I've gotten to feel real comfortable in left field," Segui said, "though it will be a little different here. The lights are brighter and the parks are different."
Coming into last night's game, the Orioles had hit 26 of their previous 27 home runs with no runners on base. But the club had to be waxing nostalgic about its bases-empty bashes by game time. Of the Orioles' last 34 hits (before last night) 33 were singles. . . . In the 35 games, starting pitchers failed to work five innings 14 times.