O's count on Hoiles to be at home

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

May 15, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortstop Cal Ripken hasn't been the only Iron Man up the middle for the Orioles this season.

Catcher Chris Hoiles has started all but two of the team's 33 games. After catching six innings last night against the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome, he had caught 272 of the team's 294 inings.

The Orioles play a day game today after a night game, but manager Johnny Oates said he will not use that as an opportunity to rest Hoiles and give Jeff Tackett some work.

"When you can go five weeks needing a fifth starter only three times, that tells you you have a lot of days off," Oates said. "How many days off does a guy need?"

At times last season, Oates used Hoiles as the DH to give him rest, but he hasn't done so this season.

"I would like to do that some," Hoiles said. "It would be good for me some days to just carry my bat up there and not have to think about anything but hitting. It would be a nice mental and physical break. The day game after the night game, that's where it catches up to you."

Hoiles said he would not mind getting a break today.

"He did a great job last year of giving me a day off in front of an off day," Hoiles said. "That two days of rest really makes a difference. It really does something to your body. It does something mentally and physically. You get back, and you are kind of champing at the bit to play. It feels like you have been out longer."

Going into last night's game, Tackett had eight at-bats and four hits.

"I think about that a lot," Hoiles said of Tackett's inactivity. "People think because we play the same position I shouldn't think about what Jeff is thinking.

"But if we're going to win this thing, it's not going to be nine guys winning it. If you pick your spots giving guys off days, they are going to be there when you need them at the end."

So far, Hoiles said he has not suffered from the heavy playing time.

"Everything feels pretty good right now," he said. "But you always are beat up a little bit.

"Being a catcher is almost like being a boxer. You hit a boxer with body punches to wear him down. You can only take so many body punches, then you get a little worn down by it."

Battle of top guns

The Orioles are idle tomorrow, then play host to the Boston Red Sox for three games, before going on a three-city, nine-game trip that begins in New York.

The series against the Red Sox at Camden Yards features each team's three top starters.

Roger Clemens (4-1, 2.59) faces Mike Mussina (6-1, 2.48) in Tuesday night's opener; Aaron Sele (4-1, 2.35) opposes Ben McDonald (7-1, 3.34) Wednesday night; Danny Darwin (6-2, 4.67) and Sid Fernandez (2-0, 1.95 going into last night's game) start Thursday night.

Lopes leaves team temporarily

Orioles first base coach Davey Lopes left the team yesterday to fly to Los Angeles to be with his family.

Lopes told club officials there was an accident in the family. No other details were available. Dugout coach Don Buford filled in as first base coach for last night's game.

Rhodes pitching in Kinston

Left-hander Arthur Rhodes, on the DL with tendinitis of the right knee, is scheduled to pitch for Class A Frederick tomorrow at Kinston, N.C., not Durham, as reported in yesterday's editions of The Sun.

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