Versatile Voigt isn't lacking for nicknames . . . or production

Orioles notebook

September 23, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

CLEVELAND -- Utility man Jack Voigt seems to come up with a new nickname every week. His teammates were calling him Roy Hobbs (The Natural) after a series of big performances earlier in the season, and there have been a few others since then.

"Mr. Perfect," said manager Johnny Oates after Voigt's three-hit performance in Tuesday night's victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Voigt doesn't mind a bit. When you're a utility man, it's a lot more important for somebody to know you're around than to know your name. He has made his presence known in a lot of ways, and he has earned a nickname for each.

"I answer to about 14 different things and none of them ar Jack," said Voigt, who didn't play last night. "I've been called Roy Hobbs, Perfect, Super, Cotton -- because I talk so much. I don't care. I'm just trying to make an impression."

He has done that already. He had two doubles and two RBI among the three hits he contributed in Tuesday night's game, raising his batting average to .303. In his past nine games, he is batting .357 with two home runs and five RBI.

None of this guarantees him a place on the club next year, but he has done all he can to assure it.

"I would hope so," he said, "but I know that nothing is guaranteed. I'm not the kind of guy who is going to be handed a job. It all could depend on what they do over the winter."

Voigt intends to stay in shape by going back to Venezuela to play winter ball, but he'll take a break to have a hernia repaired at the end of the major-league season.

"I've had it for a couple of years and I've been able to play with it," he said, "but it's a situation where the doctors have seen it and they think I should get it taken care of. It's a time bomb waiting to happen."

Olson returns

Reliever Gregg Olson made his first appearance since Aug. 8 last night, pitching to Indians left fielder Albert Belle in the seventh inning.

Olson, who was returning from a slightly torn ligament in his right elbow, jumped ahead 0-and-2 in the count, but walked Belle. Left-hander Brad Pennington took over from there and got out of the inning.

Headball

Indians first baseman Randy Milligan took a lot of lighthearted abuse from his former teammates during the three-game series, most of it directed at the size of his head.

"They put a lot of pressure on me," Milligan said. "They were really ragging me, calling me the Great Pumpkin. They always kidded me about the size of my head."

Milligan didn't take it personally. There has long been a preoccupation with head size in the Orioles clubhouse, where pitcher Rick Sutcliffe and public relations director Rick Vaughn have been in close competition for the hat-band championship for the past two years.

Sutcliffe encouraged

Sutcliffe was happy with the way things went in his first start since knee surgery, though he wished he could have gone a little further than 3 1/3 innings on Tuesday night.

"Physically, I felt fine," he said. "I was really happy to be out there. I struggled with my slider, but my velocity was good. My location wasn't as good as I would have liked, but it was something to build on."

Horn ejected

Former Orioles designated hitter Sam Horn only lasted one at-bat last night. He struck out in the second inning and was ejected for arguing with home-plate umpire Greg Kosc.

Back-to-back

The Orioles have guaranteed themselves back-to-back winning seasons, making this the first time they have been above .500 two straight years since they had 18 straight .500 or better seasons from 1968 to 1985.

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