Food poisoning scratches Clemens from start today

Orioles notes

June 30, 1991|By Kent Baker and Jerry Bembry

Roger Clemens is feeling the effects of food poisoning and will not start today for the Boston Red Sox in the finale of a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Memorial Stadium.

Clemens arrived at the ballpark during yesterday's game after flying in from Boston, and Red Sox manager Joe Morgan then decided to withhold his ace from the start.

"I felt I could have gone out there, but he held Joe [Hesketh] back [from relief duty yesterday]," said Clemens. "One day is not going to hurt. I'm just looking forward to getting my appetite back."

Morgan, who earlier indicated "the temperature will enter into it [the decision] big-time," said, "I talked to Roger, and he has lost a little bit of weight, 5 or 6 pounds."

The temperature is expected to approach 100 degrees again today.

The Orioles have drawn two of the four largest crowds in Memorial Stadium history with Clemens opposing them -- 52,161 in the 1989 season opener and 52,159 on June 27, 1986.

But Clemens has not fared well against Baltimore of late. He is 0-2 in three starts since his most recent victory over the Orioles, on Aug. 11, 1989, at Memorial Stadium. During that period, he has a 2.41 ERA, but has been undermined by six unearned runs.

In his only start against the Orioles this season, Clemens was beaten by Roy Smith, 5-1, at Fenway Park on June 2, allowing three runs (two earned) and eight hits in eight innings.

He is expected to pitch tomorrow night in a series opener in Milwaukee.

Orioles manager John Oates took the news cautiously.

"Things like this are not always a break," said Oates. "The replacements in these situations are guys trying to make a name for themselves, and they're hungry and pitching for their livelihood. You don't take people like that for granted.

"You get prepared for a guy like Clemens, and when you don't have to face him, sometimes there's a letdown and the other guy pitches a two-hit shutout. You have to stay aggressive. Still, you've got to be crazy to say you'd rather face Clemens."

Evans, McDonald still on hold

Nothing changed yesterday in the cases of Dwight Evans and Ben McDonald.

The Orioles plan to pitch McDonald tomorrow, but whether it will be in the major leagues remains to be seen.

"He will go somewhere," said Oates. "Whether it's here or in another stadium, we don't know."

McDonald threw well in the bullpen Friday after checkered results during two starts for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings.

"We'll go day by day with him," said general manager Roland Hemond. "You don't know what you can do until the games leading up to it are over."

Evans was eligible to be activated from the disabled list yesterday, but it remained questionable whether he will face his old Red Sox teammates this weekend.

"The heel is sore, about the same as yesterday," Oates said. "It's still not to the point where he can play comfortably. It would defeat the purpose to send him out there."

Greenwell, Rivera nearly fight

Frustration of four losses in the past five games carried over into the Red Sox dugout in the second inning, as left fielder Mike Greenwell and shortstop Luis Rivera had to be separated after miscommunication on a second-inning fly ball by the Orioles' Chris Hoiles.

Rivera ran deep into left field to catch the ball for the second out. Greenwell, who had called for the ball, expressed his displeasure when they entered the dugout after the third out, and the two had to be separated.

"It's over, it's baseball," Greenwell said after the game. "But it's happened twice in two games. We have to communicate for future references so no one ends up on the disabled list. We have to straighten it out -- we go over this in spring training, and it's pretty basic."

Greenwell was involved in a collision in 1989 with center fielder Ellis Burks that put Burks on the disabled list for the final 22 games with a separated shoulder.

"They just had a heated battle about the fly ball," Morgan said. "I restrained them both and talked to them both."

Rivera left the locker room early and could not be reached for comment. Greenwell, after being initially upset, appeared to be willing to put the incident behind him.

"It had no bearing on a win or a loss, and it's not the story of the day," Greenwell said. "The bottom line is that we got the out.

"I can't really blame Luis because sometimes he can't hear me," Greenwell added. "We have to be aggressive, but we can't be stupid and aggressive. That's when somebody gets hurt."

Miscellaneous

Mike Flanagan allowed 1 unearned run in 2 innings, on an error by Randy Milligan. "He threw [a lot of] pitches 3 days ago," said Oates. "I really hesitated to bring him in. But he told me he was ready Friday." . . . . Bill Ripken was out of the starting lineup, supposedly for rest, not because his back was acting up. But Ripken entered the game in the seventh after David Segui batted for Juan Bell. . . . The Orioles attendance topped 1 million on the 34th date with yesterday's crowd of 44,023, matching 1990 for the earliest ever. . . . Joe Orsulak had his 10th outfield assist to tie the New York Yankees' Jesse Barfield for the AL lead. . . . Hal "Skinny" Brown was inducted as the 22nd member of the Orioles Hall of Fame during a pre-game ceremony. . . . The Orioles bullpen has worked 77 1/3 innings in the past 18 games, averaging more than 4 per game.

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