Oates' rotation is set for the stretch
Mussina will miss Blue Jays series
Orioles manager Johnny Oates said last night he will not tinker with his starting rotation down the stretch, other than to make sure Rick Sutcliffe and Mike Mussina pitch every fifth day.
That means that, barring a rainout, Mussina will miss next week's series here against the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays. Mussina will start Wednesday night against Kansas City. His next turn will come up a week from tomorrow in Milwaukee, the day before the series against Toronto.
Unless the Orioles have a trade in mind, either Arthur Rhodes or Bob Milacki will pitch the first game of that series against the Blue Jays. There has been no hint of a possible deal, but it should be recalled that general manager Roland Hemond made a pitch to obtain Mark Langston to pitch the next-to-last game of the 1989 season in Toronto.
Since the Orioles will need a fifth starter four more times this year, it would not be a shock if they tried to obtain a veteran for the last two weeks.
Rhodes will start Tuesday night against Kansas City, but Toronto's success against left-handers might influence Oates to use Milacki against the Blue Jays. In any event, he will not risk using any of his young starters on three days of rest.
"We tried that once with Mussina earlier and he struggled for a few starts after that," pointed out Oates. "The only ones I would consider using on three days' [rest] would be Sutcliffe and [Craig] Lefferts.
"If you start moving guys around, you just mess everybody else up," said Oates. "And I'm not going to mess everybody up, just to get one guy into a [specific] game."
Ripken's ankle OK
The ankle that Cal Ripken twisted while running out a double in the sixth inning Saturday night is not the same one he injured eight years ago. That one -- the left -- he has taped as a precautionary measure every game since he hurt it early in the 1984 season.
Trainer Richie Bancells said that Ripken's right ankle had "minimal swelling" last night. The shortstop played last night with both ankles taped, a common practice for basketball and football players but more of a preventive measure for baseball players.
Ripken, who was playing his 1,714th straight game, did not appear to be restricted last night.
However, as a precautionary move, the Orioles announce during last night's game that they had recalled shortstop Manny Alexander from their Triple-A Rochester farm team.
Considered one of the top prospects in the organizationAlexander played most of the year at Double-A Hagerstown, where he hit .259 and stole 43 bases. He hit .292 in six games with Rochester.
Alexander is scheduled to report to the Orioles today.
High praise for Mussina
The Milwaukee Brewers, who lead the majors with 211 stolen bases, were high in their praise of the job Mussina did holding runners on base Friday night. The Brewers were successful on one of three stolen-base attempts.
"He was more responsible than the catcher," said Paul Molitor. "He was unloading it very quickly."
Oates, too, credited Mussina, but also cited catcher Chris Hoiles for making two perfect throws. "It takes three people [pitcher, catcher and infielder] to prevent a stolen base," said Oates. "Mike did everything he could do to give the catcher a chance, and Chris did his job."
Tripling their fun
Going into last night's game, the Orioles had 34 triples, their most since 1974 (48). Over the past 10 years, the Orioles had the fewest three-base hits (246) in the major leagues.
Mike Devereaux has 11 triples, two more than Brady Anderson. The club record is 12, set by Paul Blair in 1967.