SARASOTA, Fla. -- For a team supposedly making a lot of changes, the Orioles' lineup for the opening exhibition game has a familiar look.
Right fielder Chito Martinez is the only starter for Friday's game against thng order yet, but the hunt for a new leadoff hitter probably will be delayed at least one game.
Among the starters listed by Oates, center fielder Mike Devereaux is the only logical candidate to hit first. Joe Orsulak, playing left field, is likely to hit second, followed by shortstop Cal Ripken, first baseman Glenn Davis, Martinez, third baseman Leo Gomez, catcher Chris Hoiles, sec
ond baseman Bill Ripken and pitcher Bob Milacki. The Cardinals are the home team, so there won't be a designated hitter.
The lineup is basically the same one that finished last season for the Orioles. However, Oates said there's no guarantee it will be the one that opens the 1992 season.
"We'll have a couple of decisions the middle of the month that could be important," Oates said. "And all of the decisions at the end of the month will be big.
"I may grow a few gray hairs before then," Oates said.
One of the decisions the Orioles will make before the season is whether to pursue a trade for first baseman Randy Milligan. Oates has said he won't give up Milligan just to resolve a roster problem, but he also acknowledges that the glut of first basemen will affect the number of outfielders he's able to keep.
"It creates an interesting training camp when you have more than 10 or 11 guys with legitimate chances to make the club," Oates said.
Outfielder Brady Anderson, who will get first shot at the leadoff role, is not scheduled to play in the first two games, giving his slightly sprained right ankle additional time to heal. Anderson, outfielder Dwight Evans, catchers Rick Dempsey and Chris Hoiles, Cal Ripken and Davis will not make the trip to Haines City for the second exhibition of the season, against the Kansas City Royals.
Anderson, Evans and catchers Jeff Tackett and Mark Parent will not dress for the game against the Cardinals, working out instead at Huggins-Stengel Field, where the Orioles will work out once the preseason games start.