The impending return of first baseman Glenn Davis has returned some uncertainty to the life of first baseman Randy Milligan, whose career has been in turmoil since the Baltimore Orioles went shopping for a big hitter last winter.
"I've been wondering," Milligan said, "but John Oates is the kind of manager who'll let me know where I stand."
Oates already has gone on record as saying that Milligan's playing time will not be seriously affected when he writes Davis back into the starting lineup. Designated hitter Sam Horn and DH/outfielder Dwight Evans are more likely to see a significant reduction in playing time.
But Milligan is looking a little farther down the road -- to the possibility that Davis decides to re-sign with the club.
"You can't worry about trades, because most of the time they don't happen," Milligan said, "You never know how things are going to work out. For instance, I never thought I'd be playing first base this year. But we have some weaknesses that we have to overcome, and you're not going to get a quality player without giving up a quality player."
The logic is impeccable. If Davis and the Orioles come to terms, Milligan will be the most marketable player on a team that doesn't have a lot of proven players to part with. He could be packaged with a solid prospect or two to bring the club a dependable pitcher.
"If you look and see who will be expendable," Milligan said, "if Glenn comes back, I'll be one of those expendable players."
As far as the Orioles public relations department could tell last night, the club tied a record when seven pitchers combined on the 4-3 victory in the first game of the doubleheader.
Public relations director Rick Vaughn said that more research will be done today in an attempt to confirm the record-tying
Reliever Mark Williamson was forced out of the second game with a strained muscle in his side. He came on to pitch to Juan Gonzalez, who hit his 20th home run of the season.
Ripken backs off
Second baseman Bill Ripken was tentatively scheduled to play second base for the Class AA Hagerstown Suns last night, but the club decided to hold him back after a particularly eventful night with the Class A Frederick Keys on Monday.
Ripken, who has been on the disabled list for a month with a rib-cage strain, suffered some renewed soreness after a couple of head-first slides in the first inning of the first game of his injury rehabilitation assignment.
"We decided to bring him back for treatment," Oates said. "We'll try again tomorrow."
Texas Rangers second baseman Julio Franco pulled up lame and had to be helped off the field after he was thrown out on a close play in the seventh inning.
Franco, who entered the game ranked third in the American League with a .338 batting average, aggravated a bruised left heel when he lunged for first base. It is not known how long he'll be out of action, but the Rangers depend too heavily on their explosive offensive lineup to contend without him.
Steve Buechele moved from third base to second to take his place, Dean Palmer took over at third and Mario Diaz took his slot in the batting order.
Poole faces Rangers
Reliever Jim Poole, who was claimed on waivers from the Rangers organization on May 31 and assigned to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, made his first appearance against his old mates last night, retiring the only two batters he faced in the first game.
Poole has appeared in nine games since he was recalled from Rochester on July 30. He allowed his first earned run as an Orioles last night,
Mike Flanagan has been particularly effective in his past 24 appearances, giving up 4 earned runs in 40 1/3 inning (0.89 ERA). He faced and retired 1 batter in the first game last night. . . . Cal Ripken narrowly missed his 25th home run in the fifth inning, settling for a sacrifice fly. . . . Bob Milacki is 14-4 in 23 career appearances after Aug. 1. He's 15-22 before that date. He has been the starter in 9 of the Orioles' past 21 shutouts. . . .Gonzalez became the youngest player in Rangers history (21 years, nine months, 28 days) to hit 20 or more home runs in a season. Ruben Sira was 2 days older when he hit his 20th in 1987.