Storm clouds clear, signaling Lewis' swift return to Rochester

Orioles notebook

July 21, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Rookie right-hander Richie Lewis stayed around until game time just in case, but his stay in the major leagues lasted four days. He was optioned back to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings not long before Storm Davis took the mound last night in the extra-inning, 3-2 win over the White Sox.

The move did not come as a surprise. Lewis, who was recalled when the Orioles optioned Bob Milacki on Wednesday, knew when he arrived that he figured to go back as soon as Davis was ready to return from the disabled list. He would have stayed only if Davis proved unable to return for last night's start or the bullpen had been overworked in Texas.

"I told him when he got here that he could be here for four days or for the rest of the season," manager Johnny Oates said.

Oates said last week that Lewis might stay if the club went to an 11-man pitching staff, but a string of impressive performances from the starting rotation made that unnecessary.

"The only way that would have happened is if we had had to use every single pitcher until they were worn out," Oates added.

Even though he used all his relievers in last night's 12-inning victory, Oates still didn't second-guess himself, saying that because of the few innings each pitched, his relievers would be ready again tonight.

* AGAINST THE WIND: Reserve catcher Rick Dempsey came very close to hitting a tie-breaking home run in the ninth inning of Sunday night's game at Arlington Stadium. He drove a ball high and deep to left, but it was kept in the park by the stiff breeze that was blowing in from the left-field corner.

"When I hit it, there was no doubt about it," said Dempsey, 42. "It started out 10 rows deep and ended up five rows short."

The drive was one of three deep fly balls by Orioles hitters that might have been home runs under more favorable conditions.

"I thought it was out," teammate Tim Hulett said of Dempsey's hit. "Then I remembered how old he is."

* GOMEZ ADJUSTS: Leo Gomez hit a pair of shots into the wind in Texas, leaving Oates to wonder whether an adjustment he recently made in his hitting mechanics is paying off.

"Greg [Biagini] asked him to move his hands away from his body a little more," Oates said. "Since then, he has hit a three-run home run and hit two other balls very well. Maybe they found something, but three days doesn't make a season."

Gomez has been hitting for average this year, but he has not hit for the kind of power the club had hoped to see in his second year in the starting lineup.

* SPRING SEARCH: Club president Larry Lucchino said yesterday that the search continues for a new permanent spring training facility and that the search is not limited to Florida.

The recent report that the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners both have signed letters of intent to play in yet-to-be developed facilities in Peoria, Ariz., has to have the Orioles wondering whether their best chance for a permanent, municipally financed facility is in the greater Phoenix area.

"Arizona is a possibility," Lucchino said. "They are pursuing teams aggressively."

Florida remains the club's preference, but a lot may depend on another tourist tax initiative in Collier County, where a previous tax measure to finance an Orioles facility was approved and then struck down as illegal.

* SEGUI PRAISED: First baseman David Segui was still getting rave reviews a day later for the part he played in a crucial 10th-inning double play Sunday night. Segui pounced on a bouncer by Texas Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and made a difficult throw to second to initiate the 3-6-3 double play and take the wind out of a potential rally.

"He's a very aggressive first baseman," Oates said. "That's why he was in there. I'd say he's one of the three most aggressive first basemen in the league, along with Don Mattingly and [Pete] O'Brien."

Oates said that he would have been satisfied with one out on the play.

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