Smith to join rotation, but works in relief firstManager...

Orioles notes Don Markus of The Sun's sports staff contributed to this article.

May 26, 1991|By Kent Baker

Smith to join rotation, but works in relief first

Manager John Oates does not intend to let veteran pitcher Roy Smith waste away on the bench.

The day after being purchased from the Class AAA Rocheste Red Wings to replace disabled Ben McDonald on the roster, Smith was inserted into the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation.

In fact, Smith was on the mound last night in relief of Jeff Ballar before his first start, scheduled for Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians.

"This is his work day, and I like having a six-man bullpen," sai Oates. "If he gets up one time, he'll be in there."

Smith gave up a broken-bat single to Jesse Barfield, the only batter he faced.

Smith was the Red Wings' most consistent starter, with a 4- record and 2.60 ERA. He was happy to be back, but thought the circumstances were a big unusual.

"I figured this team was going to contend," said Smith, who wa released by the Minnesota Twins after last season. "And I thought I could help them, be more valuable to a contender than a team like the Twins that was going with kids."

Smith has been primarily a starter during a checkere major-league career and wasn't that surprised when he was sent down after spring training.

"I knew what they had here and that I'd have to wait my turn," he said. "But I don't think anybody goes into a situation like this thinking they have to take a back seat."

He was not upset when Bob Milacki and Kevin Hickey wer promoted ahead of him.

"It's weird. You don't want to root against guys, but you know something has to happen for you to get back," he said. "I envision they'd be in the race, not in this situation. I'm not happy this is the way I got up."

Oates wants 11th pitcher

By early next week, the Orioles could have an 11-man staff with disabled Dave Johnson or a minor-league reliever as the candidates.

"If there's any way, that's what I want," Oates said. "What I'd lik to get is a quality long man like Gene Nelson [of the Oakland Athletics] and go to the bullpen early if I have to."

The way the starters are going now, the new manager said that's one of the team's biggest needs.

Devereaux returns to lineup

One of the injured, Mike Devereaux, rejoined the starting lineup last night after missing four games because of a strained groin muscle.

"He was 100 percent ready last [Friday] night," said Oates. "H passed the running test when he stopped once and his legs caught him."

Another player nursing a strained groin muscle, Dwight Evans, i "close," Oates said. "There is a possibility he'll DH tomorrow [today] against the left-hander. He's definitely ready to pinch hit."

Killebrew relives long HR

Harmon Killebrew said the 471-foot home run he hit 27 years ago Friday at Memorial Stadium "didn't seem like it was going farther than any other one. I think it was a broken bat."

Hit off Milt Pappas, it was the longest measured drive in th park's history, one commemorated last night by a flag on the spot where the ball landed.

Yanks give Oates rave reviews

Those who remember Oates from his years in the Yankees organization say the Orioles have themselves a quality manager.

"I really enjoyed playing for him," said first baseman Don Mattingly, who played 43 games for Oates with the Class AAA Columbus Clippers in 1983. "You really knew where you stood."

Said pitching coach Mark Connor, who served in a similar capacity under Oates on the 1983 team: "Intelligent and to the point. He took great pains in communicating with his players. They didn't always like what he said, but he was always fair."


Bob Melvin is scheduled to play against left-hander Chuck Cary today after a foul tip injured his index finger and forced him to leave Friday night's game. He has no problem gripping the bat or ball. . . . Brady Anderson's assist in the fifth inning was the Orioles' 16th by outfielders, tops in the majors.

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