Missing Clemens no break, Oates says

ORIOLES NOTES

April 13, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

TORONTO -- The Orioles might have caught a break when Saturday's 19-inning marathon between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians altered the Red Sox pitching rotation.

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens was moved up into the second game of yesterday's doubleheader in Cleveland and will miss today's Fenway Park opener against the Orioles, who have struggled at the plate against some less intimidating pitchers during the first week of the season.

They won't get much of a break today, because left-hander Frank Viola will move up to face Bob Milacki, but they originally were scheduled to get Clemens and Viola in the three-game series. Joe Hesketh will face Ben McDonald on Wednesday, and Mike Gardiner will oppose Mike Mussina in the series finale Thursday.

If manager Johnny Oates was happy for the reprieve, he didn't show it.

"I learned a long time ago that you just take your turn and play the table the way you find it," Oates said, "because if you get too excited about missing a guy, the other guy can come in and throw a one-hit shutout at you."

The Orioles have faced that possibility every day since the season opened. They have a .198 team batting average and 10 runs in their first six games.

Brady bruised

Left fielder Brady Anderson was hit on the back of the right hand by a pitch in the third inning yesterday. The fastball from Toronto Blue Jays starter David Wells hit Anderson squarely and left him buckled over in pain, but he remained in the game and was hit again by Wells (this time on the helmet) in the seventh inning.

Anderson probably will have the hand X-rayed in Boston if there is any residual pain and swelling.

Cal Ripken also was hit by a pitch from Wells, but it just glanced off him. He was hit twice in the Toronto series.

Wells tied a Blue Jays record by hitting three batters in a game. The major-league record is four.

Davis update

Oates said yesterday that first baseman Glenn Davis has shown improvement since he was sidelined with a strained muscle in his rib cage, but there is no timetable for his return to action.

"Roland [Hemond, general manager] said he had talked to Glenn and the doctor," Oates said. "There is improvement, but we don't have anything definite yet."

Gruber leaves game

Blue Jays third baseman Kelly Gruber suffered a muscle spasm in his neck during an at-bat in the fourth inning. He was removed from the game and is listed as day-to-day.

Oates on Gomez

Oates has been happy with the early returns on third baseman Leo Gomez, who has been the most productive hitter on the team through the first week of the season, but he isn't going overboard with his praise.

"We know Leo is not going to end the year hitting .460, just as we know that Cal Ripken isn't going to hit .108 [.136], or whatever he is," Oates said. "There's a reason why this is a 162-game season. Leo is swinging the bat well right now. We need a couple more guys to start doing that."

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