John Oates was thrown out of a game for the first time as a major-league manager last night and said it was all in the line of duty.
"I was just doing my job and he [plate umpire Derryl Cousins] was just doing his," said Oates. "Nothing more, nothing less."
As ejections go, this one was extremely passive. "My job is to keep my players and coaches in the game," said Oates, who admitted the disagreement centered on balls and strikes.
Oates came from the dugout after Cal Ripken had taken a pitch for a strike to start the bottom of the seventh inning. There didn't appear to be any room for debate on that particular pitch, but evidently there had been some dugout and coaching box guessing along the way.
"I went out to protect Senior [Cal Ripken Sr.], to keep him in the game," admitted Oates. "He [Cousins] had his mask off and that usually means something."
Cousins refused to discuss the incident, and Oates did so only because of persistent questioning. "He probably didn't want to talk about it because it's no big deal," said Oates. "That's not the story -- how many times do we get 13 runs?"
The answer to that one is: twice as often as Oates has been thrown out of a game.
* THE BELL TOLLS: After a somewhat shaky start, Juan Bell has done a good job at second base filling in for the injured Bill Ripken. He had two hits in last night's 13-5 win and is hitting .351 (13-for-37) in his last 12 games, driving in six runs.
Bell has started the last 21 games and is hitting .246 (17-for-69) over that span. He is still not completely comfortable at second base, but has shown improvement defensively.
* RHODES HONORED: Lefthander Arthur Rhodes, who is expected to make his major-league debut later this season, has been named the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Month for July.
Pitching for Double A Hagerstown, Rhodes was 3-0 with a 1.96 earned run average and 42 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings during the month. For the season Rhodes is 7-2 with a 2.54 ERA. He has struck out 106 in 95 2/3 innings and has held opposing hitters to a .195 batting average.
* CRUISE FOR KIDS: The Orioles wives will host their third annu
al "Cruise For Kids" Thursday, Sept. 5.
Held for the benefit of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, the dinner-dance will be held aboard the Bay Lady, which will board at 6:45 p.m. and return at 11 p.m.
Mark Williamson, Gregg Olson, Joe Orsulak and other Orioles, past and present, are scheduled to attend the black tie optional affair. In conjunction with the cruise, a silent auction on baseball memorabilia will be held, along with the raffle of an Orioles quilt made by the wives.
Tax deductible tickets are $100. For more information call the Orioles Community Relations Department, 547-6150.
* THIS 'N THAT: The Brewers made it official yesterday that Teddy Higuera will be lost for the year. The lefthander (3-2, 4.46 in seven games) has been diagnosed as having a "significant tear in the rotator cuff."
Milwaukee's Darryl Hamilton extended his career-high hitting streak to 11 games. Chris Hoiles has hit in six straight for the Orioles, also a career-high.
B.J. Surhoff played three positions for the Brewers last night -- starting at catcher, moving to third and then to second, making his major-league debut at that position.
Ex-Oriole Rick Dempsey, who replaced Surhoff behind the plate in the sixth inning, remains a Memorial Stadium hero. He got a standing ovation when he batted against former teammate Mike Flanagan in the eighth inning.
Cal Ripken had his major-league leading 46th multi-hit game with a pair of singles and is hitting .321. He also drove in three runs, raising his RBI count to 72.
The three doubles by Hoiles last night fell one shy of the club record, which is shared by two other catchers -- Charlie Lau (1962) and Dave Duncan (1975).