Tartabull not healthy Yankees investment

Orioles notes

April 25, 1992|By Don Markus and Jim Henneman | Don Markus and Jim Henneman,Staff Writers

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees knew what they were getting when they signed Danny Tartabull to a five-year, $25 million contract in January. In a little more than six years with the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City Royals, Tartabull hit 152 home runs.

But he also missed his share of games with injuries.

History seems to be repeating itself this season. After nearly putting Tartabull on the disabled list earlier this season with a wrist injury, the Yankees announced last night that the 29-year-old left fielder would be out for at least the next 12 days because of a strained left hamstring.

"It's a hard thing to swallow," said Tartabull, who joins second baseman Pat Kelly (sprained thumb) and shortstop Mike Gallego (bruised heel) on the Yankees' 15-day disabled list. "But it's the best thing for the injury."

Despite playing with the sprained wrist, Tartabull was hitting .308, but had only one home run in the first 15 games.

Asked if he objected to the team's decision, Tartabull said: "I was past that because I had been saying the same thing with the wrist. I have to respect their opinion. I have a tendency to get emotional. Emotional involvement is one thing, being physically ready is another. As a player, if you can walk and breathe, you want to play."

Said Yankees manager Buck Showalter, "We don't want Danny to push himself and go out until he's ready. The wrist is close to 100 percent. We want him to be able to do the things Danny is capable of doing."

Devereaux cleaning up

Mike Devereaux has found a new, but temporary, home in the Orioles' batting order.

With Randy Milligan on the sidelines following his collision with Bill Ripken on Wednesday night, Devereaux moved into the No. 4 spot in the lineup.

"He's not really a true No. 4 hitter, but with Randy [and Glenn Davis] out, we really don't have one against left-handed pitchers," said Orioles manager Johnny Oates. "It worked well last night [Thursday], so I decided to try it again.

"The chances are he'll stay there again tomorrow," Oates said yesterday, "then we'll have Sam [Horn] hitting cleanup Sunday." Left-hander Jeff Johnson (1-1, 7.30) is scheduled to pitch for the Yankees today, with right-hander Melido Perez (1-2, 2.75) pitching tomorrow.

When he was asked the difference between hitting fourth and fifth, Devereaux had a succinct answer. "The only difference I see is that I'm in the on-deck circle when Cal [Ripken] is hitting," quipped Devereaux.

He did allow, however, that he approaches hitting differently batting in the middle of the lineup than he did leading off. "As a leadoff hitter I tried to look at as many pitches as possible, especially leading off the game," said Devereaux. "That gives everybody a little bit of a chance to see what he is throwing."

Second opinion

Oates said team doctor Charles Silberstein concurred with the decision of the physicians who treated Milligan in Kansas City and recommended that he stay fairly inactive for 48 hours.

Milligan probably won't take batting practice until tomorrow and, said Oates, "he's not going to play until he hits."

Bill Ripken ready to play

Bill Ripken was ready to play last night, but wasn't in the lineup for a simple reason. Mark McLemore had a career-high four hits as his replacement in Thursday night's 8-1 win in Kansas City.

"He told me he could've played last night [Thursday] if I had needed him," said Oates. "I don't think Billy's happy about not playing, but that's the way we like it.

"We talked about it [Ripken returning to the lineup] after the game [Thursday night] and I told him I'd sleep on it," said Oates. "But then I called him back and told him not to get his hopes up because I knew who I was going to play. You're not going to take a guy out of the lineup a day after he got four hits very often.

"Mark has played pretty well and Billy had the big hit for us [Wednesday night] before he got hurt," said Oates. "That's one of the things that happens when you're going good -- you can afford to give a guy an extra day or two."

Batting practice indoors

Because of threatening weather, pre-game batting practice was conducted indoors last night, in the tunnel under Yankee Stadium. Several of the Orioles -- including Chris Hoiles, Horn and Bill Ripken -- wore stocking masks over their faces while hitting.

"It's very dusty down there, it's been like that for a couple of years," said Devereaux. "It doesn't look like a good place to breathe."

McDonald goes today

Ben McDonald (1-0, 3.63) will make his fourth start of the season this afternoon. Jose Mesa (1-1, 3.75) gets his third start in the final game of the series tomorrow, then will miss a turn because of Thursday's off-day.

Rick Sutcliffe, Mike Mussina and Bob Milacki will pitch the three games in Minnesota, after which the Orioles return for a 10-game homestand.

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