Building on '92, Brady, Devo perform familiar 1-2 Top of order again carries offense ORIOLES OPENING DAY '93

April 06, 1993|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

When baseball renewed itself at Camden Yards on Opening Day 1993, Brady Anderson did his best to put 1992 behind him.

"Last year is over," the Orioles' left fielder said. "I've got to concentrate on what's ahead, not what's behind me."

If there were any worries that his giddy success of 1992 had spoiled Anderson, they were --ed quickly yesterday.

That potent one-two punch of Anderson and Mike Devereaux was the eye of the Orioles' storm once again. The left-handed hitting Anderson ripped two doubles against Texas Rangers left-hander Craig Lefferts, and added an infield single. Center fielder Devereaux drove in two runs with a searing, fifth-inning double down the left-field line.

It was not enough to overcome the homer-happy Texas Rangers, who seized the day and the game, 7-4, as Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer each went deep twice.

But it was enough to suggest that Anderson and Devereaux, at least, are ready to pick up where they left off in 1992.

"Brady went out and got three hits, and I felt good up there today," Devereaux said. "I felt like I was right where I was last year."

With 24 home runs and 107 RBI a year ago, Devereaux established himself as one of the baseball's most dangerous hitters. With 21 homers, 80 RBI and 53 stolen bases, Anderson proved to be one of baseball's most exciting players.

The fact they had proven themselves in 1992 did not affect the way either player approached 1993, Anderson and Devereaux said.

"Mentally, it is easier, knowing you've got the team made," Devereaux said. "But you don't work any less."

Anderson said his competitive nature was pricked early in spring training. He grounded out the first time he batted in Florida, and popped up a 3-1, hit-and-run pitch the second time.

"I remember specifically my first at-bat of spring training," he said. "I was frustrated because I didn't do what I wanted to do. [After] my second at-bat, I almost lost my mind.

"I like to compete, I like to do well. Cal [Ripken] comes in each year knowing he's going to play every day and he works just as hard every year. The competition of it never ends. You can't relax."

Anderson said he doesn't buy into the notion the Orioles' offense will go only as far as its first two hitters drive it this season.

"I don't necessarily believe that," he said. "You can't say our offensive success rests on me and Devo. Behind him is Cal, and behind him is Glenn Davis, and behind him is Harold Baines.

"That's a pretty successful group of hitters. I like to think we're solid on offense, that we don't have to rely on one or two guys to carry the team."

This was Anderson's fourth Opening Day start. His 3-for-4 performance improved his Opening Day numbers to 9-for-17 (.529).

"It feels good to get a hit in your first at-bat on Opening Day," he said, "but it's not as much fun when you don't win."

There, too, the Orioles made a break from 1992. A year ago, they beat the Cleveland Indians, 2-0, at the unveiling of Oriole Park. It was a victory they treasured through the season.

"Last year we talked about Opening Day all year," Anderson said. "It would have been nice if we had duplicated that today."

Nice, but not mandatory.

"The first day of the season doesn't determine the pennant," Devereaux said.

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