Palmeiro streak hits 18, longest of year

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

May 16, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rafael Palmeiro extended his hitting streak to 18 games by doubling off the Metrodome's trash-bag-like wall in right field in the fourth inning of yesterday's 5-2 loss to Minnesota.

The streak is the longest in the majors this season, eclipsing the 17-game streaks of Oakland's Stan Javier and St. Louis' Gregg Jefferies. Toronto's John Olerud had the longest streak last season, when he hit safely in 26 consecutive games.

Palmeiro's streak also is the longest by an Orioles hitter since Joe Orsulak hit in 21 consecutive games in August 1991. Eddie Murray (1984) and Doug DeCinces ('78-'79) share the team record of 22.

Palmeiro is hitting .376 (27-for-72) during the streak.

His only longer hitting streak came in 1988, when he hit in 20 LTC straight games for the Chicago Cubs.

"I feel all right but I could be in a better groove," said Palmeiro, who is hitting .349. "The streak is no big deal. If it happens it happens. If not, I'll start another one."

Hoiles sprains ankle

Catcher Chris Hoiles sprained his right ankle running the bases on a single off the wall in right in the second inning yesterday. He had the ankle wrapped after the inning and played the rest of the game.

"It's not bad," Hoiles said. "It just kind of hurts to put pressure on it, but it's not too bad. Right where the dirt and the turf meet I caught it with my outside cleat. It will probably be tender for a few days, but I don't think it will keep me out of the lineup at all."

Hoiles has caught 280 of 303 innings for the Orioles this season.

Hammonds improving

Right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds, out with a strained right knee, said he still is hopeful of returning to the lineup Thursday, when he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.

"God willing this is just a little stretch where I can't play ball and I'll be back out there soon," Hammonds said. "Until I'm told otherwise, I plan on being out there Thursday. I've got to get back out there."

Hammonds said the swelling in his knee has gone down, but not enough for him to do any running.

"I went out to the outfield and caught three or four fly balls, but I wasn't moving too quickly to get to them," he said. "Day in and day out it gets a little better."

Miscellaneous

Third baseman Chris Sabo, on the disabled list with a back strain, said he plans to resume golfing when his back feels better. "I golfed all fall and winter and didn't have any problems," Sabo said. "I stopped golfing when the season started and my back starts hurting again. Every doctor I talk to says it's good exercise for the back.". . . Sabo, who teamed with Yankees right fielder Paul O'Neill during their days in Cincinnati, credits Yankees manager Buck Showalter for his handling of O'Neill, who leads the American League in hitting by a mile. "Paul has a tendency to get down on himself," Sabo said. "They don't give him a reason to get down. They don't play him against some tough left-handers and he has had nothing but positive results. Paul's a good hitter with good power. I don't think he's a batting champion, but he's a good hitter. He's off to a great start, the kind of start you dream of having. His confidence is riding high." Said Palmeiro: "If I hit .350 and lose the batting title by 100 points, I'll be happy. It won't bother me at all.". . . Orioles manager Johnny Oates on the good that came out of Alan Mills pitching three innings and allowing one run in Saturday night's 8-5 loss to the Twins: "I wanted to pitch him in a situation where the game wasn't on the line so he could relax."

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