Mills' 4th start could be warm-up


March 17, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

PLANT CITY, FLA — PLANT CITY, Fla. -- Right-hander Alan Mills is scheduled to make his fourth start of the spring tomorrow against the Cleveland Indians, which leaves room to speculate that he may be the substitute starter if injured Sid Fernandez is not ready to re-enter the starting rotation by mid-April.

Mills has excelled in a setup and sometimes closer role during his two seasons with the Orioles, but he started the first game of the exhibition season and has remained in the rotation throughout the first two weeks of Grapefruit League play.

His early starts were scheduled as a matter of convenience and were not expected to steer him into a new role, but Fernandez's sore shoulder may force manager Johnny Oates into a change in plans.

"He is always someone you can consider because he has done it before," pitching coach Dick Bosman said of Mills.

Mills, who has given up three earned runs in eight innings of work this spring (3.38), is starting the Winter Haven half of tomorrow's split-squad doubleheader. Rookie right-hander Mike Oquist, another possible fifth-starter candidate, will start the other half against the Minnesota Twins at Al Lang Stadium.

Moyer goes five

Left-hander Jamie Moyer became the first Orioles pitcher to throw five innings this spring, shutting out the Cincinnati Reds on five hits in the Orioles' 3-2 victory at Plant City Stadium.

Moyer has bounced back from a rocky first exhibition outing to string together nine consecutive scoreless innings. His performance last night whittled his ERA down to 3.00.

Big catch for Buford

Outfielder Damon Buford made a running catch in the second inning to rob Joe Oliver of a run-scoring extra-base hit. Buford was running full-speed with his back to home plate and turned to pick off the 400-foot drive in straightaway center.

Buford is having a solid spring all around. He entered last night's game batting .303 and has more exhibition at-bats than any other Oriole. He singled, walked and scored two runs last night.

Gomez goes deep

Leo Gomez's bases-empty home run in the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie. It was his second home run this spring.

Roster cuts

The Orioles made seven roster moves yesterday, leaving 34 rostered players and nine nonroster invitees still among the candidates for the Opening Day roster.

Left-hander Rick Krivda, catcher Greg Zaun and outfielder Jim Wawruck were optioned to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings; right-handers Armando Benitez and Rick Forney were optioned to the Double-A Bowie Baysox; and nonroster players Mel Wearing and Cesar Devarez were assigned to the minor-league camp in Sarasota, Fla.

The moves become effective on Saturday, after the Orioles split the squad for two games tomorrow.

New seats on order

Orioles owner Peter Angelos has announced that work will soon begin on the replacement of 3,204 seats with poor sightlines at Camden Yards. The first 400 new seats, which pivot to provide a better view of home plate, will be shipped to the stadium by March 23. The installation of those seats may be complete by Opening Day, with the rest of the new seats installed by May 23.

Casting call

The Orioles are inviting fans of all ages to audition for a television commercial at the Omni Hotel in downtown Baltimore today from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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