In preparation for this weekend's series with the Milwaukee Brewers, manager Johnny Oates is considering tinkering a bit with catcher Chris Hoiles' use.
Hoiles is 9-for-18 in his last five games with three homers, so Oates can't afford to rest him.
But the Brewers also are the best base stealing team in the majors and Hoiles admits his throwing mechanics are off, bouncing two throws to second last night.
Oates said one option may be to use Hoiles as a designated hitter, though with three Milwaukee right-handers coming in, Sam Horn figures to get some at-bats.
The more likely option, the manager said, would be to get Jeff Tackett, who has a stronger arm, into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement if the Orioles get a lead.
* ANDERSON ILL: Oates had promised a different look, but his most significant lineup change last night wasn't one he had planned.
Brady Anderson was a late scratch from his customary leadoff spot in the lineup and was replaced in left field by Joe Orsulak. Oates had Anderson in his original lineup but said he "knew there was only a slim chance he'd be able to play."
Anderson, who was out of the starting lineup for the third time this season, was hit by an intestinal disorder that left him nauseated yesterday.
"He thinks it might have been something he ate," Oates said. "He was up all night."
When he arrived at the park about three hours before last night's game, Anderson went into the manager's office and told Oates he thought he would be better off taking the night off.
The other major change in the Orioles lineup involved the fourth spot. Glenn Davis, whose month-long slump has been caused at least partially by a flare-up of his old neck injury, was replaced as designated hitter by Horn.
Cal Ripken moved from fifth to fourth in the lineup, with Horn inserted into the No. 5 slot. Before last night, Horn had one at-bat in the past 15 games and had not started since Aug. 21.
"There's definitely going to be pressure when I go up there," Horn said before going 1-for-3 last night. "I haven't played for a long time or with any consistency.
"I want to do well, but I'm still not going to be comfortable because it doesn't matter if I have a good game or bad game, I still might not be in there for three more weeks," said Horn. "I'm just going to do the best that I can.
"When the opportunity presents itself, you just try to do the job. This year, the opportunity hasn't presented itself too often, but it [the season] hasn't passed slowly because we're winning. It's good to be on a winning team."
The chances are Horn's appearance wasn't a one-night stand. Oates indicated that Davis would probably get three or four days off before attempting a return to the lineup.
* NEW ROTATION SET: Oates said last night that he had settled on his starting rotation for the next two series. Mike Mussina, Craig Lefferts and Ben McDonald will pitch the three games against Milwaukee this weekend.
Rick Sutcliffe, who faces the New York Yankees tonight, will open the Kansas City Royals series Monday night, followed by Arthur Rhodes or Bob Milacki. Mussina is scheduled to pitch the third game against the Royals, a week from tonight.
Oates' plans call for Sutcliffe, Mussina and probably McDonald to work every fifth day. That leaves Lefferts, Rhodes and Milacki to fill in.
Sutcliffe and McDonald figure to get the last two games of the Toronto Blue Jays series Sept. 22-24. Mussina will miss the series, barring some juggling by Oates and pitching coach Dick Bosman.
* LITTLE LEAGUE GIFT: Randy Milligan and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will present $8,000 to the Forest Park Little League today. The money is part of $25,000 raised by the Randy Milligan Baseball Festival last month, and the rest is going to the charitable fund created by the Orioles first baseman.