Sabo could be activated next week

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

May 19, 1994|By Tom Keegan and Milton Kent | Tom Keegan and Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writers

Orioles third baseman Chris Sabo, on the disabled list with a strained back, has left for extended spring training in Sarasota and could be activated early next week, the Orioles announced after last night's game.

"All I need is to get some at-bats, get in the box and take some hacks," Sabo said.

Sabo was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 7. He is batting .221 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 68 at-bats.

"'We'll go day by day," Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said. "He'll probably stay through the weekend."

Strikeouts galore

For the second straight night, a Red Sox starter had a season high in strikeouts against the Orioles.

Aaron Sele struck out nine Orioles, less than 24 hours after Roger Clemens put down a season-high 11.

Multiple steals

Boston's Otis Nixon had his third multi-steal game of the season, with two in the fourth inning.

Nixon has stolen 14 bases this season, just two off the 16 steals Scott Fletcher had to lead the Red Sox last year.

Reunions nothing special

Orioles closer Lee Smith doesn't find extra motivation in facing the Red Sox and the Yankees, two of his former teams, in the same week.

"If that was the case, I'd be pumped up every place I went," Smith said. "I've played near everywhere."

Smith, traded to the Yankees late in 1993, didn't exactly feel at home there.

"They didn't even have a uniform that fit me," Smith said. "I kind of got the clue they didn't want me back when I had to go to Melido Perez's locker for shoes, Bobby Munoz's locker for pants and Frank Howard's locker for shirts."

And then there was the case of mistaken identity. Smith said Yankees manager Buck Showalter called him by the wrong name.

"He dropped Willie on me a few times," Smith said. "Whatever. I've been called worse. I usually don't get all bent out of shape about those things. It was not just the Yankees who didn't want me. Everyone in baseball thought I was washed up."

Trade climate quiet

May is always a quiet time of year on the trade front, but the deep freeze could continue much longer this season because divisional realignment has put so many teams in the playoff hunt.

"Not too long ago I was telling [Minnesota general manager] Andy McPhail, "Hang in there, things will get better,' " Hemond said. "Well, they sure did get better. They swept us. And it doesn't look like the Yankees like playing them too much either."

The Twins won for the ninth time in 10 games yesterday, defeating the Yankees for the second day in a row.

Lopes to return soon

First base coach Davey Lopes is expected to return today or tomorrow, Hemond said. Lopes has been in California since Saturday because a family member was in a motorcycle accident.

Dugout coach Don Buford has been standing in for Lopes. What does a first base coach do?

"He assists the third base coach with signs, makes sure to alert the player if he misses a sign," Buford said. "He helps the runner get back safely on pickoff attempts. He reminds the runner where the outfielders are playing, where the infielders are

playing, helps him get a better jump. He reminds players to extend their leads so they can be aggressive on the bases. I remind them how many outs there are."

Around the horn

Orioles manager Johnny Oates said yesterday he still has not decided on a pitcher for Saturday, conflicting with what Arthur Rhodes said the day before. "Despite what Arthur says, I still haven't decided who's pitching Saturday," Oates said. "It will be Arthur or Mike Oquist. I have not told Arthur he will start." Who did? Pitching coach Dick Bosman, according to Rhodes. Oquist began warming up in the second inning last night. . . . Oates on the firing of California Angels manager Buck Rodgers: "I was surprised. I know Buck and I know what it's like to manage against him. I think he's a good baseball man. But I wasn't there. Who knows why it happened."

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