His glove affair is over, but Horn not crying

Extra innings

February 27, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Designated hitter Sam Horn knows better than to campaign for more playing time, even though his production in 1991 would project to some pretty big numbers over a full season.

"I would be satisfied with 350 at-bats," said Horn, who hit 23 home runs in 317 trips last year. "I feel that, in 350 at-bats, I can prove I belong here. I'm only going to hit against right-handed pitching, so I just want to be the best at it."

This is something of a departure for Horn, who came to the Orioles two years ago hoping to shake the bad rap on his glove. Instead, he has come to accept his defensive limitations.

"I know that I'm not a good, maybe not even an adequate, first baseman," he said, "but the more you do something, the better you get. I don't play first base, so I can't get any better. But I am the designated hitter and a pinch hitter, and I can get better at that.

"It's hard to compare myself to other people, because I am a one-dimensional player, but if I'm just going to provide power against right-handed pitching, I'll be totally satisfied with that. I like to hit, and, if that's all I have to worry about, that's great."

The Orioles no longer need Horn to back up first base. The club is having trouble finding playing time for former starter Randy Milligan. Horn will have to produce at the plate just to protect his part-time DH role.

"I've got some things to work on," he said. "I'm going to try to cut down my swing and make more contact with two strikes and when there is a runner on third with less than two outs. I've got to find a way to stay aggressive."

That only can increase his run-production numbers, especially in a new stadium that seems tailor-made for a left-handed power hitter.

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