Wathan ends stint, thanks Angels for 'experience'
It began in May as a normal bus trip from New York to Baltimore for the California Angels, who were anxious to see the Orioles' new home at Camden Yards. But the trip was anything but normal as one of the buses ended up in a ditch on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike.
The accident left Angels manager Buck Rodgers hospitalized, and led to third-base coach John Wathan taking over as interim manager. Last night Wathan, who was fired as manager of the Kansas City Royals in May 1991, managed his last game for the Angels. Rodgers will return to the team tomorrow, when the Angels open a 12-game homestand.
"It was a great experience," Wathan said before last night's 6-4 loss, sitting in the same dugout where it all began four months ago. "It's been a lot of fun for me. This is the best group of guys I've ever dealt with."
Wathan ends his stint with a 36-49 record as manager. When Rodgers returns, Wathan will become a bench coach with Ken Macha remaining at third. Before the Angels took the field yesterday, Wathan had some brief words for the team.
"I just thanked them for everything," Wathan said. "It started out kind of bad, but the whole experience has been a lot of fun for me."
Williamson 'very doubtful'
If the Orioles need a pitching boost during a potential season-ending stretch run, they won't be counting on Mark Williamson.
Williamson, a right-handed reliever who suffered an inflamed elbow that forced him on to the disabled list April 16, said yesterday "it's very doubtful" he'll be back this season.
On a rehabilitation assignment in Hagerstown, Williamson began feeling pain in the same area of the elbow about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Williamson visited Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday and was advised to stop throwing for seven to 10 days.
"It's frustrating," Williamson said. "My velocity is finally starting to come back. And as soon as I get my velocity back, my arm starts hurting."
Luck on Orioles' side?
With a little more than a month left in the regular season, Johnny Oates feels that luck is finally coming to the side of the Orioles.
To back up his claim, Oates points out the fortunate circumstances surrounding the triple play started by third baseman Leo Gomez in the fourth inning of Tuesday's 9-1 win over the Angels.
With a 2-0 Baltimore lead with no outs and California runners at first and third, Gomez, playing the line, snared a line drive off the bat of Gary Gaetti, tagged third to double Tim Salmon and threw to Randy Milligan at first base to complete the triple play, as Chad Curtis was running on the play. The Orioles escaped the inning unblemished on the way to the victory.
"What's he doing playing the line with nobody out?" Oates said. "We got lucky. Things like that are starting to happen. The worm is turning." Center fielder Mike Devereaux will be featured in this week's edition of "This Week in Baseball." Devereaux is billed as the show's "top great play man of the season to date," with some of his defensive gems being featured. The show is televised in Baltimore at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday on Channel 2.
After his eight-inning effort Tuesday, Rick Sutcliffe has pitched in more innings (198 1/3 ) at this point of the season than any Orioles pitcher since Scott McGregor in 1983. He has pitched more innings at this point than any right-hander since Dennis Martinez in 1979.