KANSAS CITY, MO. — With Milligan out, Hoiles moves up
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Manager Johnny Oates was saying just the other day that catcher Chris Hoiles would remain the club's No. 8 hitter even if he remains the league's No. 1 hitter. But the collision that took Randy Milligan and Bill Ripken out of action has forced him to juggle the lineup.
Hoiles, who was still atop the league hitting ranks when he woke up yesterday, batted fifth last night in the Orioles' revamped batting order.
"I said that Chris would remain in the eighth spot unless there was a need to move him," Oates said yesterday. "Obviously, there is a need."
Milligan will be out of action for at least the next few days, leaving the club short another run-producer. The Orioles were getting by without the services of Glenn Davis. Hoiles entered last night's game with a .386 batting average and nine RBI, but went 0-for-4 to drop to .354.
"I looked down [at the roster] and said, 'Where can I get a guy to drive runs in?' " Oates said before the game. "I picked the hottest guy. I made up my mind I wasn't going to move him until a need arose. I was going to play him in the eighth spot all year even if he hit .390."
Oates said that he intends to move Hoiles back down in the order when Milligan returns. The move yesterday could not have been considered a surprise, but it caught Hoiles off guard.
"I went up and looked at the eighth spot and said, 'Darn, I'm not even playing tonight,' " he said. "I just automatically looked there, because that's where I've been all year."
Devereaux hitting cleanup
The other hitter affected by the Milligan injury was center fielder Mike Devereaux, who moved into the cleanup spot last night. Devereaux opened the season as the No. 5 hitter, but had spent the previous three games hitting second.
Oates could have moved Hoiles into the cleanup spot. He is, after all, the hottest hitter on the club, but he felt that Devereaux would strike more fear into Royals starter Mark Davis.
"Even though Chris is hitting .390, the guy might remember that Mike got him a couple of times," Oates said, "and that might make him pitch Cal [Ripken] a little different."
Devereaux went 2-for-2 against Davis last night, and has six hits in eight lifetime at-bats against the Royals left-hander.
Hendricks praises trainers
Bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks was as concerned as anyone when he saw Millligan hit the turf Wednesday night, but he praised trainers Richie Bancells and Jamie Reed for the professional way they handled the crisis.
OC "The real heroes in this whole thing are Jamie and Richie," Hen
dricks said. "Their experience, their knowledge, their education all showed up last night. They were calm. They kept everything together.
"That's why it's so different than in the old days. In the old days, someone might have panicked. They handled the situation very well."
When Rick Sutcliffe arrived at the ballpark yesterday, he had a friend carrying his luggage. It was actor Mark Harmon, another of the legion of friends who have been seen both in Baltimore and on the road. Agent Barry Axelrod also was in Kansas City for the series, which pitted Sutcliffe against fellow client Wally Joyner on Wednesday night.
Mike Mussina's complete game last night was the fifth of the year for the Orioles, a club that didn't get its fourth complete game of 1991 until the 115th game of the season. On Wednesday night, Sutcliffe became the first Orioles pitcher to post three complete games in April since Scott McGregor in 1983.