Both on rolls, Sabo blasts DH rule, Gomez has 3 RBIs

SIDELIGHT

May 30, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The left side of the Orioles' infield features a Rip streak, a rip streak, and a hot streak.

On the same day shortstop Cal Ripken's consecutive-games played streak reached 1,943 games, reserve third baseman Chris Sabo's consecutive rip streak reached three games and first-string third baseman Leo Gomez's hot streak continued.

Sabo, unhappy with playing time, blasted the designated hitter rule yesterday. He has been platooning with Harold Baines at DH since coming off the disabled list, while Gomez has stayed at third.

"The DH is not baseball," Sabo said. "Nothing against those who are DHs, but DH isn't a job. Baseball is hitting and fielding. The DH bats three or four times and watches TV."

Sabo has not made a trade request, but said he probably will in the next couple of days.

"I'm sure it'll probably come to that," Sabo said. "I don't play second fiddle to anybody. Mike Schmidt retired."

Earlier this season, Sabo suggested he might do the same if his back problems persisted. He went on the disabled list, but lost his job to Gomez.

Sabo received no promises he would return to third base from Orioles manager Johnny Oates, who has been riding the hot hand.

"He told me I've got to wait for Leo to cool off," Sabo said. "If Leo cools off, maybe I'll get my chance."

Notice he said if, not when.

At this rate, that's a wise choice of words.

Gomez delivered again in an 8-4 victory yesterday over the Chicago White Sox, going 2-for-5 and driving in three runs with a bases-loaded double to the gap in left-center in the ninth inning. In his past seven games, Gomez has driven in 13 runs and is hitting .430 with five doubles and two home runs.

For the season, Gomez is 4-for-6 with nine RBIs hitting with the bases loaded. Despite languishing on the bench for most of April, Gomez is tied for the team lead with 12 doubles.

"Sometimes when you come up with men on base, you have more concentration at home plate," Gomez said. "You are going up there just trying to make contact and that makes me stay back on the ball and makes me use the whole field."

Informed Sabo has voiced playing time complaints, Gomez appeared unfazed.

"That's something I can't control," Gomez said. "I don't make the lineup, so he can't talk to me. Go talk to the manager. Last year when I got hurt, Tim Hulett was doing a great job, then they went and got [Mike] Pagliarulo and Pagliarulo did a great job. I just come in here every day and try to do my job."

Gomez, a long shot to make the team out of spring training, is hitting .323. Sabo is batting .238.

"When they signed Sabo the first thing that came to my mind was when am I going to play," Gomez said. "I told myself to just wait for my chance and when they give it to me, I'll try to put up some good numbers on offense and defense."

Gomez likens the feeling he has now to that he had during 1992, when he hit .265 with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs.

"I'm real happy with the way things are going now, just like I was real happy in 1992," Gomez said.

Said Sabo: "Leo's swinging the bat good. I'm happy for him. He's a good guy, but my numbers over my career are as good as any third baseman in the game today."

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