Mercedes wants to put IL suspension behind him
Luis Mercedes said last night that he wants to put behind him a Class AAA International League suspension and get back to playing baseball.
"I feel sorry about the incident. For me, it is in the past. Now is the time to put it away," he said.
Mercedes will be activated tomorrow by the Orioles, two weeks after he was suspended for the remainder of the IL season for throwing his batting helmet into the face of an opposing player who had said something to him as he left the field.
Manager John Oates said Mercedes has been working out at Memorial Stadium recently and that his playing time will depend on "each day individually. But we have some flexibility because he can play all three outfield positions."
It will be the first time in the big leagues for Mercedes, who has been in Baltimore almost a week for meetings between himself; his representative, Mike Powers; Orioles general manager Roland Hemond; and assistant general managers Frank Robinson and Doug Melvin.
"I feel real good, ready to go," said Mercedes. "It was very important for me to get here this year, see the pitching, learn the league."
A skillful player whose strengths are his bat and legs, Mercedes has won batting titles in the Class A Carolina League and Class AA Eastern League and finished second this year in the IL with a .334 average.
He also drew 65 walks this season as he concentrated on trying to fill the leadoff role the Orioles envision for him.
"I am real comfortable in the outfield now," he said. "In the infield, I had trouble making the double play.
"I don't want to come up here for a month, go down, come back up and go down again. I want to stay."
Mercedes spent last night in the general manager's box with members of the front office and will do so again tonight.
McDonald to make start
Ben McDonald, who came out of Tuesday night's start because of stiffness in his shoulder, will pitch tomorrow as scheduled.
He threw yesterday in the bullpen and reported that "it was a little stiff, but not enough to keep me out.
"I think I maybe fell on it two starts ago when I stabbed that grounder."
"He's fine," said Oates.
The Orioles honored the four 20-game winners from the 1971 season on the field last night as part of the commemoration of Memorial Stadium.
Dave McNally, Jim Palmer, Pat Dobson and Mike Cuellar each won 20 within six days of each other in September 1971. They constitute one of only two quartets to accomplish the feat in major-league history.
Evans, Horn get starts
Oates started Dwight Evans in right field last night against right-hander Bret Saberhagen, one of the league's premier starters.
"He's 13-for-35 against him," Oates said of Evans. "And 2-for-3 with a double this year."
As for Sam Horn, the manager started him at designated hitter to "get him four at-bats so he's not lost. He's only had three or four times up there in 2 1/2 weeks."
Not coincidentally, Horn had the best average of any Oriole against Saberhagen -- .467. He had tagged him for three home runs in 15 at-bats and connected again last night for a three-run homer in the eighth.
Oates said there will be no more call-ups from the minors. P Jeff Ballard and C Jeff Tackett were activated last night. "We'll find something for Tackett to do," Oates said. "He's not up here to do nothing.". . . . The team's 50 millionth fan will arrive tomorrow. He or she will receive a collection of prizes, including airline tickets, a trip to Universal Studios in Florida and two
tickets to the final game at the stadium. . . . The Orioles Wives cruise raised more than $40,000 for the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, for a total of more than $100,000 over the last three years.