ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Dwight Evans made a rare start in right field against a right-handed pitcher yesterday, but the only significance was the veteran's spring training schedule.
"He's not making the road trips [to Port Charlotte tomorrow and Bradenton on Thursday], and I wanted him to play three straight games," said Orioles manager John Oates. "He'll be the designated hitter tomorrow [today against the Philadelphia Phillies at Al Lang Stadium]."
Evans has started the past two games in right field. "It feels a little strange facing game pitching again," he said. "The outfield is no problem, just getting used to seeing the ball again under game conditions."
After collecting two hits in each of the intrasquad games before the Orioles left Sarasota, Evans is looking for his first hit in exhibition play. He is 0-for-5 in his two starts.
For the first time in four games, the starters didn't command most of the attention among the Orioles' pitchers yesterday in an 8-4 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Richie Lewis, a right-hander obtained from the Montreal Expos late last year for Chris Myers, pitched two perfect innings, striking out three. He and Myers were both No. 1 selections in the 1987 draft.
Jim Lewis, another right-hander, who came from the San Diego Padres in the Craig Worthington trade, picked up his second save by working 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Both Lewises are legitimate candidates if there's any room on the big-league staff.
Mike Devereaux, whom the Orioles would like to drop out of the leadoff spot in the batting order to take advantage of his RBI potential, hit fifth yesterday against Chicago right-hander Alex Fernandez.
In his first at-bat, Devereaux bunted, and reached second base when Fernandez made a two-base throwing error.
Hitters get in swing
The big hit in yesterday's game was delivered by David Segui, who had a bases-loaded triple to left-center field to break a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning.
The other major offensive contributors were Glenn Davis, who hit a monster home run and drove in another run with an infield grounder, and Luis Mercedes, who had two hits, a sacrifice bunt, a stolen base and a run scored.
As he did a year ago, Mercedes continues to get on base. If his defense weren't such an uncertainty, he'd be a lock to make the team. Still, he could force his way onto the roster if he keeps getting on base with consistency.
29-year-old streak tied
The last time (1963) the Orioles opened the exhibition season with four straight wins, Oates was 17, Cal Ripken Sr. was the player-manager at Aberdeen, S.D., Earl Weaver was more than five years away from becoming Orioles manager, and 30 of the 40 players on the major-league roster were not born.
The fastest exhibition start in club history, five straight wins, was recorded in 1954, the Orioles' first year.
Olson growing beard
In addition to his fastball, curve and changeup, reliever Gregg Olson is working on getting a beard in shape this spring.
"He's started that thing two or three times," said Oates, who said during the winter that he wouldn't mind Olson joining Rick Sutcliffe as a bearded member of the pitching staff. "He's got that baby face. It would make him look meaner."
Olson said he can't make up his mind whether he's growing a beard or a Fu Manchu mustache. "They said the one I had last year was ugly," he said. "Maybe I'll let it grow until the Fu Manchu fills out, then shave the beard off."
Roster moves not likely yet
The Orioles can begin sending non-roster pitchers and catchers to the minor-league camp starting today, but Oates said he's in no hurry. "I'm not ready to make decisions yet," he said, "and we need the pitchers to play the 'B' games [today against the Phillies and Thursday against the Cardinals]."
Non-roster players can be sent out when minor leaguers are due to report. Today is the date for pitchers and catchers, Friday for position players. Players on the major-league roster cannot be optioned until next week.
Sanchez ready; Poole close
Left-hander Israel Sanchez, who has been nursing a tender arm, has been cleared for game conditions. He figures to see action within the next few days.
Jim Poole, another left-hander sidelined with a sore shoulder, threw on the side yesterday, and should see action by the end of the week.
Karkovice goes mobile
White Sox catcher Ron Karkovice was easily recognizable in the clubhouse yesterday. He was the one walking around with a cellular phone.
Karkovice's wife, Maureen, was back home in Orlando, Fla., where the birth of the couple's second child was imminent.
Bob Milacki, Dennis Rasmussen and assorted relievers were scheduled to pitch this afternoon against the Phillies, who will use Terry Mulholland, Kyle Abbott and Andy Ashby.
Anthony Telford, Brad Pennington and Mike Oquist were listed to pitch three innings apiece in a morning "B" game at Clearwater, also against the Phillies (Steve Searcy and ex-Oriole Mickey Weston).
Tomorrow, the Orioles travel to Port Charlotte to face the Rangers. Ben McDonald, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Flanagan and Olson will face Bobby Witt, Hector Fajardo, Don Carman, John Barfield and Mike Jeffcoat.