MINNEAPOLIS — B. Ripken injury is minor ankle sprain
MINNEAPOLIS -- Orioles second baseman Bill Ripken suffered only a minor sprain when he twisted his ankle running the bases in Friday night's series opener against the Minnesota Twins.
Precautionary X-rays taken Friday night were inconclusive, and a Orioles notebook
second set taken yesterday revealed no fracture. Ripken could return to the lineup as early as today.
"He's all right," manager Johnny Oates said. "He could play [today]. He could have played [yesterday] in an emergency."
Ripken apparently didn't think it was serious at the time. He limped off the field after being caught in a rundown between first and second base in the top of the sixth, but went out to his position for the bottom of the inning.
Oates removed him when it became apparent his mobility had been reduced. "He didn't want to come out then, but I didn't like the way he looked out there," Oates said.
Mark McLemore started yesterday, but he might have played against Twins right-hander Scott Erickson regardless of Ripken's condition.
Third-base coach Cal Ripken Sr. was ejected by plate umpire Derryl Cousins in the 10th inning, apparently for disputing a ball/strike call while Cal Ripken was batting. The ejection precipitated a lengthy argument involving Ripken Sr., Cousins, Oates and first-base umpire Joe Brinkman. Hitting coach Greg Biagini replaced Ripken Sr. in the coaching box.
Catcher Jeff Tackett blocked the plate nicely to deny the Twins a run in the fifth inning.
Greg Gagne doubled into the gap in left-center field with Lenny Webster at first base. Webster was cut down at the plate by the relay throw from Cal Ripken, but he would have scored if Tackett had not been in perfect position to receive the one-hop throw while denying Webster a chance to touch the plate.
Ripken gets credit, too, for flagging down a high cutoff throw and coming down in position to make an accurate throw.
Hoiles in a hurry
Injured catcher Chris Hoiles is anxious to return to action. He has
been running and throwing to remain in shape, and had to be ordered not to put on a glove.
Hoiles suffered a fractured bone in his left wrist when he was hit by a pitch from New York Yankees right-hander Tim Leary two weeks ago. He is scheduled to be sidelined for at least two more weeks, but he apparently feels too good for his own good.
"He's begging us to play catch," Oates said, "and we keep telling him no. He can throw, but that bone in his left wrist isn't strong enough yet. He has to give it time to heal."
Mike Devereaux became the 21st Oriole to have five hits in a game Friday night, a feat that has been accomplished 30 times in club history. There have been six five-hit performances by Orioles players since 1983, and four of them have been at the Metrodome. Cal Ripken had five hits in a game here twice -- Sept. 3, 1983, and May 5, 1985. Joe Orsulak did it Aug. 30 last year.
The Orioles' 6-1 victory over the Twins and John Smiley on Friday night improved the club's record in games against left-handed starters to 18-10. The Orioles won just 18 of those games in 1991. . . . The Orioles are on pace to make just 80 errors this year, which would break the major-league record of 84, held by the 1988 Twins. . . . Randy Bush, who led the league in pinch hits last year, fouled out with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth. He had been unsuccessful in his previous 15 pinch-hit at-bats.. . . . Yesterday's 15-inning game was the longest for the Twins since they played 16 innings against the Texas Rangers on June 11, 1986. The Orioles played 15 against the Kansas City Royals last July 17.