DETROIT — McKnight gets reprieve, as Worthington goes on DL
DETROIT -- Utility player Jeff McKnight was back in a Baltimore Orioles uniform last night, just 24 hours after he was optioned to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings and just back from a whirlwind trip to Baltimore.
McKnight flew back to Baltimore on Monday night, after the club optioned him to make room on the roster for reliever Kevin Hickey. He was back on a flight yesterday afternoon, after the Orioles placed third baseman Craig Worthington on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring.
Worthington was one of four players who came up sore during or after Monday night's 11-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Almost everyone in the Orioles clubhouse has some kind of bump or bruise.
Manager Frank Robinson hinted on Monday night that Worthington would be replaced by third-base prospect Leo Gomez, but the club was so short on depth in the outfield that McKnight seemed like the most logical alternative.
"It was because of our outfield situation," Robinson said. "We're short two outfielders. Dwight [Evans] is not playable tonight, and [Mike] Devereaux, I'm hoping for Friday."
Both Evans and Devereaux are suffering from injured groin muscles. Devereaux worked out yesterday and is not out of the question for tonight's series finale, but Robinson said he would try hard to resist the temptation to use him.
Tim Hulett started at third base last night and hit the game-winning homer. McKnight started in left field and went 0-for-3. The starting lineup included only four players from the Opening Day starting lineup, and two of those -- Randy Milligan (ankle sprain) and Bill Ripken (hamstring) -- are banged up.
McKnight's ability to play both the infield and outfield earned him the emergency recall. He woke up yesterday morning to a message to call general manager Roland Hemond and was on his way back to Detroit a couple of hours later.
"Like I said last night, anything can happen," McKnight said, "but it was pretty freakish, wasn't it?"
Tettleton feeling at home
Former Orioles catcher Mickey Tettleton is enjoying his first season in Detroit, where he has found the Tigers to be one of the loosest teams he has been associated with.
"With this team, they just won't let you get down," he said. "There are too many guys here who have been around the block. Everybody keeps picking everybody else up."
Tettleton is batting .274 with four home runs and 15 RBI. He ha struck out 29 times in his first 106 at-bats, but his strikeout-ability doesn't stand out on a team that also includes Rob Deer (49 in 117 at-bats), Cecil Fielder (39 in 141) and Pete Incaviglia (32 in 107).
"They don't make that big a deal out of it," he said. "They also don't make that big a deal out of walks. They actually told me that they want me to swing the bat more."
He has new mechanics at the plate. He has lowered his hands and no longer holds the bat with his wrist bent backward. He has gotten rave reviews from manager Sparky Anderson for his defensive play.
Asked whether he was upset that the Orioles had traded him Tettleton said: "It's gotten to the point where you can't look back at all. I don't know what happened there. It was time to move on."
Cal Ripken start best since '84
Shortstop Cal Ripken is off to the best start of his career, and his .343 batting average is the highest by an Orioles regular this deep into the season since Eddie Murray hit .343 through 49 games in 1984.
Until the Orioles got three extra-base hits last night, C Chris Hoiles had the only extra-base hits among the Orioles' previous 48 hits, dating to the fifth inning of Thursday night's game against Oakland. Hoiles has a double and a HR since then. . . . The official scorer at Tiger Stadium has given Milligan an error for dropping a double-play relay on Monday night. Now the Orioles have committed 12 of their 22 errors this year with left-hander Jeff Ballard on the mound. . . . Evans leads the club with a .364 batting average with men in scoring position. . . . The grand slam by Incaviglia was the second in as many games for the Tigers, who got one from Milt Cuyler in Sunday's victory over the Minnesota Twins. It was only the second time in franchise history that the Tigers have had grand slams in back-to-back games. The last time was in 1901, when Ducky Holmes and Joe Yeager hit slams on June 17 and 18, respectively.
Glenn Davis: nerve injury in neck, out indefinitely.
Dave Johnson: sore groin muscle, 15-day DL.
Craig Worthington: strained hamstring, 15-day DL.
Mike Devereaux: slightly strained groin muscle, could return Friday.
Dwight Evans: slightly strained groin muscle, day-to-day.
Joe Orsulak: jammed wrist, available to play.
Mike Flanagan: tender elbow, available to pitch.
Ben McDonald: tight elbow, will start tonight.
Mark Williamson: sore groin muscle, pitched last night.
Sam Horn: sore hamstring, pinch hit last night.
Bill Ripken: sore hamstring, played last night.
Brady Anderson: sore knee, played last night.
Randy Milligan: sprained ankle, has played on it since spring training.