Palmeiro makes another deep first impression


March 05, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- New first baseman Rafael Palmeiro did it again. The day after hitting a home run in his first at-bat of the Orioles' intrasquad game on Thursday, he homered in his first exhibition at-bat against Toronto Blue Jays ace Juan Guzman yesterday.

"I'm relaxed and I'm having fun," Palmeiro said. "I'm not trying to do it. It just happened to be the first two games. I'm not trying to do anything special. There are times when you want to hit home runs, but this wasn't one of them. He threw me a fastball a little bit up. I think I do OK against [Guzman], but I don't think I've ever hit a home run off him."

Palmeiro hit a career-high 37 home runs last year for the Texas Rangers and appears to be picking up right where he left off. He already figured to face some great expectations when he signed a five-year, $30.35 million contract. Now, he is only making matters worse.

"It's a good start for me," he said. "I just hope people don't think this will be an everyday thing."

Blue Jays bombers

The Blue Jays did what they always do to the Orioles, winning in their final at-bat, this time on a two-out triple by Shannon Stewart in the 10th inning.

Paul Molitor answered Palmeiro's first-inning home run with a three-run shot off Alan Mills in the bottom of the first inning. Catching prospect Carlos Delgado batted for Molitor in the seventh inning and hit a two-run home run.

Buford's big day

Reserve outfielder Damon Buford had a good day at the plate, twice bringing the Orioles from behind with RBI hits, but he could not put them on top in the 10th. He came up with the bases loaded and one out and grounded into a force play at the plate.

Tough start for Mills

Right-hander Mills got off to a rocky start. He walked the leadoff man, hit light-hitting Dick Schofield with a pitch and gave up the home run to Molitor. He settled down after that and pitched a scoreless second inning.

"He was OK," manager Johnny Oates said. "He walked the first guy and hit a guy, then got into a fastball count with a pretty good hitter. With Molitor, [Joe] Carter and [John] Olerud hitting three, four and five, it's a pretty good idea to throw strikes to those first two hitters.

"We just got into too many fastball counts today."

Pitching highlights

Right-handers Todd Frohwirth and John O'Donoghue each pitched two scoreless innings in their exhibition debuts. Triple-A right-hander Barry Manuel pitched a scoreless ninth, but took the loss when he surrendered the 10th-inning triple to Stewart.

Gomez goes home

Third baseman Leo Gomez had to return to his home in Puerto Rico to attend to an urgent personal matter. He is expected to be gone for several days.

Gomez is the second Orioles player to leave camp in three days to attend to family business. Pitcher Mike Cook returned home to Charleston, S.C., Wednesday after being notified that his father had died of a heart attack.

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