Baines swings, may start today DH's knee responds well to treatment

Orioles notebook

April 21, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

Designated hitter Harold Baines was not in the starting lineup last night, though he did pinch hit in the ninth inning. His sore left knee apparently is responding to a cortisone shot he received on Friday.

"He felt good Sunday," manager Johnny Oates said, "and he said he feels real good today [yesterday]."

Baines pinch hit for Glenn Davis in the ninth inning and drew a walk against White Sox right-handed reliever Roberto Hernandez. Luis Mercedes ran for him at first base.

"He came out and took extra hitting today," Oates said.

"He hit the ball better today than any time I've seen him in an Orioles uniform. We'll see about that [Baines returning to the lineup] tomorrow."

The knee problem had kept Baines out of three games.

He appeared in seven of the first eight games and batted .250 with two RBI.

Oates on Valenzuela

Fernando Valenzuela's rocky performance in a minor-league game on Saturday left room to wonder if he will be fighting for his job when he pitches for the Orioles in an exhibition game against the Rochester Red Wings tomorrow. But Oates said that he still is scheduled to start next Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, and his performance in the exhibition game isn't going to change that.

"He was not sent out to judge or grade him," Oates said.

"He was sent out to get some work. We'll grade him on Tuesday night."

Sellout record extended

By selling approximately 1,200 tickets after the gates opened last night, the Orioles extended their string of sellouts. The crowd of 45,891 was the 65th straight capacity crowd at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The last time the Orioles didn't sell out was May 22.

Since moving into their new park, the Orioles have sold out 73 of 86 home games.

The streak could be in jeopardy tonight, when the Orioles close out their home stand against the White Sox. About 5,000 tickets are available.

Davis contributing

Oates defended Glenn Davis yesterday when a reporter asked him to evaluate his first baseman's offensive performance during the first two weeks of the season. Davis is batting .209. He entered last night's game ranked second on the club with five RBI.

"There's more to the game than swinging the bat," Oates said. "He has saved this club five or six runs with his defense so far."

Oates was asked if he was disturbed that the club was ranked 11th in the league in home runs with six in its first 11 games.

"I don't get concerned about that kind of thing," he said. "I'm more interested in what we do with men in scoring position. Home runs don't do much for you, unless you get a bunch of them."

Tackett on bike safety

Catcher Jeff Tackett filmed a public service announcement promoting bicycle safely before yesterday's game.

The commercial encouraged bicyclists to wear helmets, something that Tackett does both on the job and when he's on a bike.

Tackett broke his collarbone in a bicycle accident during the off-season, but he said that was not the reason he was chosen for the commercial spot.

"That's what I thought," he said. "When [assistant public affairs director] Julie Wagner asked me to do the commercial, I stood there waiting for a smart remark, but they just wanted a catcher -- someone who wears a helmet for safety at work."

Nevertheless, Tackett speaks from experience.

He flew over the handlebars when his bike hit a pothole on a downhill stretch in early November. He was not wearing a helmet, but landed on his shoulder.

Minor-league standouts

First-round draft choice Jeffrey Hammonds is living up to his billing. He was chosen Eastern League Player of the Week after batting .412 for the Bowie Baysox.

Rochester outfielder Jack Voigt received the same honor in the International League after a week in which he batted .500 and hit three home runs.

McDowell next

The Orioles cannot be looking forward to facing undefeated Jack McDowell (3-0) tonight, but the club's media notes pointed out last night that McDowell was 7-0 when the Orioles handed him his first loss last year.

The note came under the heading of "O's hoping for repeat against McDowell tomorrow," but that's exactly what they shouldn't want.

The Orioles did hand McDowell his first loss last year -- on May 16 at Comiskey Park. He came into Camden Yards six days earlier and defeated Jose Mesa for his seventh straight victory.

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