Necessary roster move points toward Martinez, maybe more

Orioles notebook

April 26, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Orioles must make room for Fernando Valenzuela, which means at least one player will be optioned or released by this afternoon.

Manager Johnny Oates is scheduled to meet with general manager Roland Hemond in Chicago today before announcing how the team will proceed, but it appears outfielder Chito Martinez will be moved off the roster in time for Valenzuela to take the mound against the Chicago White Sox tonight at Comiskey Park.

Oates appears likely to go with an 11-man pitching staff, but he refused yesterday to shed light on today's move.

"You'll know tomorrow whether I plan to go with a 10-man pitching staff or 11," he said. "I'm not going to say anything about any possible roster move."

Could there be more to today's maneuvering? Hemond was in Rochester, N.Y., yesterday to watch the Triple-A Red Wings, so there was room for speculation that there might be more than one move.

The club could send out Martinez and another player and bring up another outfielder -- perhaps Jack Voigt, who has been one of the leading hitters in the International League, or left-handed-hitting Mark Leonard.

In defense of Chito

This may prove that you can prove anything you want with statistics, but here are some interesting numbers to consider as Martinez sweats out today's roster move.

From the All-Star break until Opening Day this year, the only current Oriole to have a higher homer-to-at-bat ratio than Martinez was Cal Ripken (one every 19.4 at-bats) and the only Oriole to have a higher RBI-per-at-bat ratio was Mike Devereaux (one every 6.92 at-bats).

During that period, Martinez averaged one homer every 23 at-bats and and one RBI every 7.03 at-bats. Also, his .264 batting average over that span was only three points off the team high -- shared by Ripken and Chris Hoiles.

Of course, the Orioles need only point out the obvious if they need to justify a move involving Martinez. He is hitless in 15 at-bats this year and went 0-for-April a year ago.

Calling his bluff

The players called Oates' bluff yesterday. He was giving some players a hard time about their fancy sunglasses and other clothing accessories at the batting cage before Saturday's game, and found himself agreeing to wear them himself if the club started winning.

After Saturday's victory over the Royals, Oates found a pair of Devereaux's Oakley sunglasses and a pair of Harold Reynolds' high-top cleats waiting for him in his office. He was wearing both yesterday.

"I'll wear the high tops and the sunglasses," Oates said, "but I'm not going to do the other stuff. I'll wear the Oakleys, which are cool, and I'll wear the high tops, because Brady [Anderson] says they're cool. If Brady says they're cool, they're cool. I hope I'm wearing them for a couple of weeks. I hope I wear them out."

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