Hammonds adds to injury woes

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

April 27, 1994|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Writer

No one is talking about a set lineup anymore. Orioles manager Johnny Oates would love to be able to make a photocopy of the lineup card every day, but lately he has been lucky to be able to fill it out at all.

Right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds became the latest regular to drop out of the batting order after he fouled a ball off his left ankle in the fifth inning of Monday night's victory over the Oakland Athletics.

He experienced immediate swelling and underwent precautionary X-rays during yesterday's game.

"There's nothing broken," Hammonds said afterward. "I'm hoping for tomorrow, but I guess you'd have to say day-to-day. I'll be out there when I'm out there."

The latest injury left yesterday's lineup without four everyday players. Mike Devereaux and Harold Baines remain on the sidelines with groin injuries. Third baseman Chris Sabo has been battling a sore back, so he got the day off after playing Monday night.

The immediate concern is Hammonds, of course. He already was playing on a sore right knee, but said yesterday that he was ready to play if the X-rays proved negative. He has been one of the most consistent hitters on a club that has not yet produced up to its offensive potential, so Oates obviously would like to have him back in the lineup soon.

"We're hanging in there," Oates said. "It's been a week now. The other guys have just got to keep coming through."

Devereaux close

Help may be on the way soon. Devereaux said yesterday that he is no longer experiencing discomfort and expects to play during the two-game series against the California Angels.

"I don't feel it," he said, "but it's one of those things that you don't feel until you're going all out. It's kind of like fourth gear: You don't even think about it until you're going real fast."

Devereaux said that he was "available" yesterday, but he is treating the injury with caution. He knows that aggravating a groin injury can mean weeks on the sidelines, so he is understandably apprehensive.

"I hurt it on a quick initial move," Devereaux said. "That's something you can't reproduce until you get out there."

McLemore in right

Mark McLemore made his first start in right field yesterday so that Oates could get both of his second basemen into the game. Tim Hulett moved in at second so McLemore could spell Hammonds in the outfield, where McLemore started 119 games

last season.

Tough call

Oakland outfielder Stan Javier broke his career-high 17-game hitting streak with an 0-for-4 performance yesterday, the final at-bat ending on a called third strike that was disputed by Javier and A's manager Tony La Russa.

The pitch by Arthur Rhodes was a curveball that broke over the plate, but appeared to test the lower reaches of the strike zone. La Russa argued with plate umpire Drew Coble, but somehow managed to avoid the compulsory ejection that goes with arguing balls and strikes.

Pitching woe

Here's an illustration of how poorly the A's have pitched this season. Brady Anderson is the seventh player to have four hits or more in a game against them in the first 20 games of the season. He also is the fifth player to hit two home runs in a game against them in '94.

Dominating the A's

The Orioles have won 15 of their past 17 games against the A's. . . . Cal Ripken went 0-for-3 with two walks, his only hitless game of the eight-game homestand.

Seventh-inning scratch . . .

The seventh-inning stretch began with the opening bars of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," but the crowd booed it right off the public address system. The song was replaced by "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" but there was only time for about 30 seconds of it before the game resumed.

. . . eighth-inning stretch

To make up for the glitch, the Orioles replayed "Country Boy" after the seventh inning.

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