He will turn 40 in November and he has been hampered by injuries in recent years, including an ailing Achilles' tendon this 00 season.
But don't bet against Dwight Evans returning to play in 1991, maybe again with the Baltimore Orioles.
Evans was taking some instruction at first base yesterday from coach Cal Ripken Sr. because "I'm trying to give them some options for what they need."
In the past two games, Evans has produced key pinch hits, a double in a victory over California and a grand slam that climaxed an Orioles rally from a six-run deficit against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
His playing time has been limited since he returned from the disabled list July 11 because the organization wants to take a long look at outfielder Chito Martinez.
Evans' role is now confined to an occasional start in the outfield, designated hitting against left-handers and, infrequently, against right-handers.
"Sure, I want to play, but they've got to see what he [Martinez] can do," said Evans. "He's a good kid and a good player and I'm rooting for him.
"They gave the position [right field] to me and I'm the one who broke down."
The Orioles are impressed, but not surprised, by Evans' professional approach to the situation.
Orioles manager John Oates said Evans may have achieved the 90-100 starts in right field they hoped for if he hadn't gotten hurt and Martinez hadn't arrived with a strong bat.
"I'm sure he wants to keep playing, especially with what he's done the last two nights," said Oates.
Evans, who has played 143 career games at first base, said he wanted to "learn from somebody who knows what he's talking about" yesterday at first. "You never know what can happen."
Oates said: "Just trying to broaden his scope and prove he can do more things. "It was a refresher course."
Evans said the Orioles have been straightforward with him and all he can do is be patient.
"They're good people and there are good fans here," he said. "I've enjoyed it. But I don't have control over coming back."
Bill Ripken improving
Second baseman Bill Ripken is recovering from his rib-cage injury and could be activated Tuesday when he is eligible to return to the roster from the 15-day disabled list.
"We're hoping he'll be ready," said Oates. "He's throwing now except for across the body and starting to swing the bat."
Oates would not speculate on the roster move that would be required when Ripken returns. "The way things are going around here, the move will make itself," he said.
A fan in the first-base box seats was removed from the stadium last night after a shouting match with Oakland Athletics slugger Jose Canseco.
The incident occurred as Canseco stood near the on-deck circle waiting to lead off the ninth inning. Canseco turned to shout something back at the heckler.
"Every time a player has a run-in with a fan, the guy's a celebrity," said Canseco.
Jacoby in lineup
The Athletics activated infielder Brook Jacoby and designated infielder Vance Law for assignment before last night's game.
Jacoby, acquired from the Cleveland Indians for two minor-leaguers, was in the starting lineup at third base. He batted .234 for the Indians.
His 13 career homers against the Orioles are his high against any team.
Law, 34, was batting .211 in 61 games. He was signed last
winter after playing 1990 in Japan.
During the past 2 years, the Orioles have hit all four pinch-hit grand slams in the American League. In addition to Evans, Joe Orsulak, Sam Horn and Phil Bradley have produced them. . . . Dave Johnson said "Robby [Jeff Robinson] didn't deserve to leave with six runs charged to him" Friday night. Johnson allowed a grand slam to Ernest Riles that cost Robinson half of those. "I got juiced and he paid for it." . . . Only 4,000 tickets remain for today's finale of the homestand. . . . At their current pace, the Orioles will reach 50 million total attendance at Memorial Stadium in mid-September.