After allowing three earned runs in seven innings the night before at Rochester, Dave Johnson met yesterday afternoon with manager John Oates and general manager Roland Hemond. Results of the meeting were predictably inconclusive.
Johnson was told that the Orioles aren't ready to make a roster move. Asked if he thought the righthander understood the club's position, Oates said: "Probably not."
Which is understandable. Johnson has now made five starts on a rehabilitation assignment -- three with Double A Hagerstown and two with Triple A Rochester. He says he's healthy and ready to pitch.
The problem is that Oates doesn't have any obvious openings in his rotation, with not much difference between the five starters. Johnson can make one more start before his 30-day rehabilitation assignment expires next week.
After that the Orioles can either activate Johnson, option him to Rochester or trade him.
* HICKEY ON WAIVERS: After failing to make a deal during the prescribed 10-day "designated for assignment" period, the Orioles have asked unconditional release waivers on lefthanded reliever Kevin Hickey.
If Hickey is not claimed, or doesn't accept an offer from another organization, the Orioles have invited him to continue to work out with the club. "I don't know if he'll go on the road with us, but he has been invited," said Oates.
Hickey's waiver period expires tomorrow afternoon.
* HULETT, DAVIS UPDATE: Infielder Tim Hulett has recovered from the back spasms that sidelined him for four games. He was not in the lineup last night, but is likely to play against Chuck Finley tonight.
Glenn Davis took about 40 swings in batting practice yesterday afternoon and his recovery from nerve and muscle damage in his neck and shoulder continues to remain on schedule. "He takes it easy at first, turns it up a notch and rattles a few seats and looks like a pretty good hitter when he's finished," said Oates.
Davis, who has played only 12 games for the Orioles, is expected to return to the lineup sometime next month.
* HOT STUFF: Temperature at game time last night was 97 degrees, the 12th time this year the Orioles have started a game with the temperature above 90. The season high to date was 101 for Sunday's game against Seattle.
They played under similarly sultry conditions only 11 times all of last year, with a high of 95.
* THIS 'N THAT: Barring a rainout tonight or tomorrow, the Orioles' game against Oakland Friday night will be the 3,000th played at Memorial Stadium.
When Luis Polonia, of all people, hit his first homer of the year to lead off the third inning last night, it broke a streak of 108 innings and 419 plate appearances by the Angels without a home run. Dave Winfield (No. 19) and Gary Gaetti (No. 9) picked up the clue two innings later.
The Orioles are the only team in the major leagues without an error by their catchers. They haven't made an error at that position in the last 95 games, since a throwing error by Bob Melvin last Sept. 26.
Danny Tartabull took over the American League batting lead with a .333 average last night as Cal Ripken's 1-for-3 kept his average at .332.