DETROIT -- Bob Milacki said he will "take it as another game" when he starts the last Baltimore Orioles' game at Memorial Stadium on Sunday.
"But it is kind of special to start that one," he said. "And it woul be really nice to get the first one at the new park, too."
Manager John Oates picked Milacki, the team's biggest winne (10 victories), because "he's been our most consistent pitcher all season. He's earned this right."
Oates is intent on winning the historic finale.
"I really want to take that game," he said. "Not only is it the last game there, it's the one I'll remember until the first of February."
It won't be easy. The Detroit Tigers' probable is veteran Frank Tanana, who comes up big in ceremonial games. He pitched shutouts in the opener at Seattle's Kingdome and Chicago's new Comiskey Park.
"I'll probably be more nervous Sunday than I normally am," sai Milacki. "It's that kind of game."
Wants to be complete
Third baseman Leo Gomez will stop at the Florida Instructional League en route to his home to Puerto Rico because, "I want to be a complete player."
The Orioles are sending Gomez to work on his lateral movemen defensively and his first steps toward the ball.
"I don't want to be a designated hitter," said Gomez. "I lik defense because sometimes you can go 0-for-4 and make a good play that helps the team win."
He credits coach Cal Ripken with helping him improve with th glove.
"Cal worked me a lot," he said. "He knows that's what I wanted After I go home, I'm going to keep working."
No changes contemplated
Pitchers Ben McDonald and Jose Mesa are finished starting for the year, but Oates said he has no plans to shut down any position players during the final week.
"We'll keep going just like we have for the last month," said Oates. "Guys will get a day off, but nobody is finished.
"Glenn [Davis] will get as many at-bats as possible, and I want t get David Segui up there. But the use of the club will basically be the same."
Ripken shares award
Shortstop Cal Ripken was named the American League's co-Player of the Week yesterday with the Oakland Athletics' Rickey Henderson.
Last week, Ripken -- in a stretch run that has made him a soli Most Valuable Player candidate -- batted .462 with two doubles, a triple, three home runs and 13 RBI.
It is Ripken's first such award this year.
P Jeff Ballard said, "I'm just going out to have a good time" about his start in New York on Thursday. He has pitched only twice (both in relief) since returning from Rochester on Sept. 4. "I had a similar start last year and did well by having fun.". . . . Tigers players are staging an autograph session at Tiger Stadium on Oct. 12 to benefit the team's batboys. "They are outstanding youngsters and good students," said 1B/OF Dave Bergman. "People only see them when they're on the field. They don't realize a big part of their job is shining shoes, picking up dirty laundry, running errands and a lot of things that aren't so glamorous. This is our way of saying thanks and helping them for the future." Committed to the session so far are Bergman, Paul Gibson, P Mike Henneman, SS Alan Trammell, Travis Fryman, Jeff Kaiser and Darrell Evans. . . . The Orioles set a club record for innings pitched in relief (529 2/3 ) with three innings Sunday. . . . The Orioles are almost certain to be last in stolen bases in the majors. With 49 before last night, they were eight behind 25th-ranked Boston.