'95% sure' Oates refuses to name McDonald's sub

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 01, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

The Orioles remain noncommittal on who will start tomorrow afternoon's game with the Detroit Tigers, in place of the ailing Ben McDonald.

Neither general manager Roland Hemond nor manager Johnny Oates would disclose the name of the mystery starter, though Oates said he was "95 percent certain" of the pitcher's identity.

Hemond said the club would wait until after tonight's game to announce who will take the turn of McDonald, who will miss his first start in 80 appearances with a strain of the right groin.

Hemond said tomorrow's starter is probably in the Orioles' organization. He would not rule out a trade, but said it was not likely.

Oates said McDonald's groin strain would have some effect on the roster move that would be needed to clear a spot for tomorrow's pitcher, and it was possible that McDonald could be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

A decision on that, however, likely would be delayed until closer to McDonald's next start.

"If it was the middle of September and we had to win one game, the feeling might be different. We've got to be sure," said Oates.

Hammonds update

Hemond said Jeffrey Hammonds was re-examined yesterday by team orthopedist Michael Jacobs, who said the rookie probably won't play before the end of the homestand Sunday.

Hammonds, who missed all of May with a concussion followed by a strained right knee ligament, has seen a number of Orioles doctors, Hemond said, and has the team's permission to seek outside opinions.

So far, Hammonds, who received a light knee brace, has not gone outside of the organization.

Gomez trade rumor denied

Hemond denied a Philadelphia Inquirer report that the Orioles had been talking trade with the Phillies regarding third baseman Leo Gomez.

"He's doing a job for us. We're happy with the job he's done here," said Hemond.

The Phillies are said to be looking for help at third, with the recent wrist injury to Dave Hollins.

Union meeting

Though no strike date has been set, the Orioles' players met yesterday before batting practice to discuss the progress of negotiations as well as the possible disbursement of strike funds.

The 28 team owners are scheduled to meet June 7-9 in Cincinnati, and player representatives will meet in Chicago on June 16, and both sides presumably will discuss their positions.

Mike Mussina, the Orioles' player representative, said he didn't know if a strike was "inevitable," but said matters between the two sides, which have not met in months, were "serious."

"Things have not been earth-shattering for 18 months," said Mussina. "We're hoping something comes out of the owners' meeting. We're not say ing we're expecting anything. We're hoping."

Sparky speaks up for Oates

Detroit manager Sparky Anderson seemed genuinely surprised and dismayed to hear reports that Oates' job may be in jeopardy.

"John's as good as I've seen," said Anderson, now in his 25th season as a big-league manager. "I wouldn't feel one bit offended if I was fired and Johnny Oates got the job. I'd come and see him."

Anderson said the best way for Orioles management to quell talk of Oates' having tenuous job security would be to add four years to his contract, which runs through the 1995 season.

"He is special," said Anderson. "There's two things you have to be able to do in order to succeed. First, you must be able to manage . . . and he's proven that. Then, I would want somebody with the highest standards, and that's what Johnny has. There's never any clouds with this team. You play Baltimore and they're always professional acting. I enjoy playing them."

Making the grab

As the final out was recorded last night, a spectator emerged from the third-base side, slid into home plate, then ran to the first-base side to get away into the stands.

However, Orioles investor Wayne R. Gioioso Sr., a real estate developer from Glen Arm, grabbed the man and held him long enough for the police and ushers to haul him off.

Police told club officials that the spectator claimed to be a college student from France who ran onto the field at the urging of friends, who told him that such an act was an American tradition. Police said he probably would not face charges.

Miscellaneous

Mike Devereaux, who had a single in the first inning, has hit in nine straight games, batting .361 during the run. . . . Reliever Mark Eichhorn threw 4 1/3 shutout innings for the second time in a week, doing the same to the Milwaukee Brewers last week. Eichhorn has thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.82.

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