McDonald, Mussina both on schedule for opener

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

March 04, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

SARASOTA, FLA — SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manager Johnny Oates has yet to announce who will be the Opening Day starter for the regular season, though it isn't hard to narrow the list of possibilities to Ben McDonald and Mike Mussina.

Both players insist that they have not been told anything, but Oates has laid out his pitching schematic for the entire spring. If he keeps everyone pitching on four days' rest, Mussina's turn would come up on April 4, but there are two off days between now and then to provide some flexibility if Oates needs it.

The Opening Day start traditionally goes to the pitcher who had the best season the year before, but that is not a clear-cut issue in this case. Mussina was 14-6, but his ERA ballooned to 4.46 during an injury-marred second half. McDonald had a losing record (13-14), but was the most consistent pitcher from start to finish.

"It's not a big deal," McDonald said. "I'd like to do it, but it's not something I would be upset about if it didn't happen."

Cook goes home

Right-hander Mike Cook returned home to Charleston, S.C., after learning Thursday that his father had died suddenly of a heart attack Wednesday. Charles Cook was 60 years old.

"We'll give Mike as much time as he needs to make arrangements and be with his family," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said. "I talked to him by telephone today and he said he would call us."

Sutcliffe to go Sunday

Right-hander Rick Sutcliffe will start for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Orioles in Sunday's exhibition, facing former Orioles and Chicago Cubs teammate Jamie Moyer in the second of two consecutive 'A' games against the Cardinals at Al Lang Stadium. Right-hander Rene Arocha is scheduled to start tomorrow's game against Mussina.

McDonald and Sid Fernandez are scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Clearwater, though Oates is yet to say who will be the starter.

Infield oddity

The Gray team in yesterday's intrasquad game finished up with an infield alignment you might not see again soon. Paul Carey started at first base, outfielder Jack Voigt was at second, third baseman Terry Jorgensen was at shortstop and catcher Jeff Tackett was at third.

"If I have to play second base [during the regular season], you know there's something seriously wrong," said Voigt. "It means that a lot of people are hurt. But I'll be happy to do it if it keeps me here."

Ironic twist

During yesterday's intrasquad game, new third baseman Chris Sabo hit a sharp ground ball that took a tough hop off the left wrist of former starting third baseman Leo Gomez. Gomez was not hurt.

Labor talks

Mussina, who acts as the Orioles' player representative, said yesterday that he will attend the collective bargaining session that is scheduled to take place on Monday night in nearby Tampa.

The meeting between representatives of the owners and players union will be the first real negotiating session in more than a year. The owners are expected to ask the players to accept a salary cap in exchange for a percentage of total revenues, a concept that is not expected to meet with much enthusiasm from the union.

DuBois works two

Left-hander Brian DuBois, who has been battling elbow problems for four years, threw two innings in the intrasquad game and gave up a run on four hits.

DuBois is hoping to set himself up for a midseason call-up with the major-league team, but he still is working his way past the psychological obstacles that have arisen during his recovery.

"If I feel a little twinge, I'll have the trainers look at it and they tell me that it's normal," he said. "But I'm pleased with the way things are going. A couple of the left-handed hitters have told me that my movement has been pretty good."

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