Return to Fenway Park looms as 'new experience' for Evans
Dwight Evans, who played 18 seasons for the Boston Red Sox, will return to Boston for the first time as an opposing player Thursday with "a lot of emotion on my part."
But he really doesn't know how to approach the reunion.
"This is a new experience for me," said Evans, signed by the Baltimore Orioles after the Red Sox let him go last winter. "I don't even know how to get to the visiting clubhouse. I'll be like a rookie in that sense."
He said he wants to stay relaxed but realizes that won't be easy.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Fenway, seeing my family and being in my own bed," he said. "The one thing about it is I always played for the fans. All they ever wanted was a world championship, and they deserved it. They're die-hards who helped me through some tough times."
He said he won't play any harder against his old team because he always plays hard, and that his problem may be "trying too hard. When you do that, you really can't do anything."
Evans was an immensely popular player in Boston. Roger Clemens wore his No. 24 in spring training this year as a tribute to him.
"I don't make up the lineup, but if I face Roger, he'll be trying his best to get me out, so I'll be trying my best to get a hit," said Evans. "I'll approach it the same way.
"The tough part is turning it all around. They're the enemy now. That's why I've always loved the game, the competitiveness of it. I just wish our team was closer to them and going in there fighting for something."
Injured right-hander Ben McDonald is long-tossing but is in no hurry to rush back from the strained flexor muscle that put him on the disabled list for the second time.
TC "I'm going to be sure it's ready this time," he said, "100 percent. It's hard enough to pitch up here when you're healthy, much less when you're not."
McDonald thought he came back too soon the first time and tried to pitch through stiffness in the elbow.
"My schedule is pretty much scoped out," he said. "I'll stick to it, depending on how things go."
Redemption for Hillegas . . .
Cleveland reliever Shawn Hillegas, who allowed a game-tying home run to Robin Yount in the eighth inning of Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, picked up his second save. Hillegas pitched two innings and had both of his strikeouts in the ninth.
Sunday "was disappointing, giving up the tying run," Hillegas said. "But those things happen, and you just have to block it out. I didn't think about that at all when I came in."
. . . and for Allred
Cleveland right fielder Beau Allred committed the game's only error when he bobbled a base hit by Randy Milligan, allowing the Orioles to tie the game in the fourth. But he bounced back with a bases-empty home run to lead off the sixth that proved to be the winning run.
"It's nice when you have a chance to redeem yourself," said Allred, who hit a fastball from Bob Milacki into the right-field seats. "We need to win close games like this. We've been playing hard but coming up a run short. They needed the win as badly as we did. Fortunately, we came out on top."
Jacoby's eyes light up
Cleveland first baseman Brook Jacoby can't be faulted for thinking home run when he faces the Orioles. Jacoby's blast to left to lead off the fifth inning was his 13th against the Orioles, the most he has hit against one team.
Hendricks camp set
Coach Elrod Hendricks has scheduled his annual baseball camp at McDonogh School in two sessions, June 17-July 5 and July 8-26.
Four age groups (8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-16) are included in the instruction, which will be provided by Hendricks, visiting Orioles and other American League players.
Camp days run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the cost is $420 per session. For additional information, call camp director Mike McMillan at 363-1631 after 4:30 p.m.
Evans said he is fully recovered from a strained groin muscle and could have played in the outfield yesterday. "I learned that you can't go all out all the time," he said. "Not that you aren't hustling, but you'll blow out, pull a lot of muscles doing that.". . . . Tonight is on-field photo night. All fans with cameras will be allowed on the warning track between 6:30 and 7 p.m. to take close-ups of the Orioles. Fans participating must enter at Gate W-7. . . . General manager Roland Hemond said he is constantly talking with teams about trade possibilities but called that "just normal routine." The Orioles don't appear close to a deal now. . . . Over the weekend, Mike Flanagan became the first Oriole to lose consecutive games since Mark Williamson during the final series at Toronto in 1989. . . . Jim West has replaced Ken Levine in the WBAL Radio booth for this series. Levine has gone home to California to be with his wife, Deborah, who broke her ankle. . . . Cal Ripken extended his hitting streak to 11 games, during which he has hit .362.