Lefferts to debut on Sunday Milacki to move to bullpen Oates: Good pitching made decision tough

Orioles notebook

September 03, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Left-hander Craig Lefferts will join the Orioles starting rotation and make his American League debut Sunday against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium.

Lefferts was acquired from the San Diego Padres on Monday to bolster the starting rotation, but manager Johnny Oates withheld an announcement on Sunday's starter until he had a chance to meet with him yesterday.

The decision was complicated by the strong performance by right-hander Bob Milacki in Tuesday night's game.

"The decision had to be made," Oates said. "Two weeks ago, we were out looking for someone who could pitch, then we got a guy and Milacki and [Arthur] Rhodes pitch the way they do. That's a plus. It's feast or famine."

Milacki, who carried a shutout bid into the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 5-1 victory, will move into the bullpen. Rhodes will make his next spot start on Tuesday against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards.

Lefferts won 13 games in the Padres rotation this year, though he has spent much of his career as a relief pitcher. That versatility is one of the things that made him attractive to the Orioles, who will have added flexibility if they make it into the postseason.

Hoiles sore?

Catcher Chris Hoiles appeared to be in pain after he made an unsuccessful attempt to throw out a runner in the ninth inning yesterday.

Hoiles, who recently came back from a fracture of his right wrist, waved away the trainers, but he was replaced behind the plate by reserve catcher Jeff Tackett in the 10th.

"His wrist was just a little sore," Oates said. "I sent Tack in there on the advice of one of my coaches -- Greg Biagini -- and it was good advice."

Williamson close?

Right-hander Mark Williamson threw on the side before yesterday's game and appears to be close to returning to the bullpen.

"If everything goes well, he'll probably be activated over the weekend," Oates said.

Williamson was expected to miss the remainder of the season when he experienced renewed soreness during an injury rehabilitation assignment two weeks ago, but that apparently was just a minor setback in his comeback from elbow surgery in May.

Bill Ripken unavailable

Second baseman Bill Ripken was not available for yesterday's game. He sustained a strained Achilles' tendon running the bases on Tuesday night and is listed as day to day. Mark McLemore made his first at second base start since Aug. 23.

"If Billy is not available by Friday, we'll get another infielder in here," Oates said.

Orsulak returns

Right fielder Joe Orsulak returned to the starting lineup yesterday after more than two weeks on the sidelines with a sprained left thumb. Orsulak, the club's leading hitter, had not played since he sustained multiple injuries on a diving attempt at Royals Stadium on Aug. 15.

He quickly made up for lost time, singling in his first at-bat.

Cal Ripken hot?

Shortstop Cal Ripken is beginning to re-assert himself at the plate. He has hit safely in each of the past four games, going 7-for-19 to emerge from a 4-for-43 slump. But his homerless streak continues. He has not cleared the fences in 64 games.

Telford optioned

Right-hander Anthony Telford has been optioned to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings and will rejoin the club for the final days of the minor-league season.

Telford was recalled by the Orioles last week, but did not get a chance to pitch. He was sent out on Monday when the club called up center fielder Luis Mercedes and was waiting for an assignment at his home in nearby San Jose.

Oates said that the option does not necessarily mean that he will be passed over for a September call-up. He could be recalled when the Red Wings complete their season, though there has been no indication whether that will happen.

As expected, Mercedes rejoined the roster after waiting two days for the Double-A Hagerstown Suns to end their season. Mercedes was optioned to Hagerstown to make room on the roster for Lefferts. He didn't actually go anywhere, but he could not be activated until the Suns completed their schedule.

LTC

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