O's take Davis, 'strongest bat' in draft

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 03, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

The Orioles had no first-round pick in the free-agent draft yesterday, but scouting director Gary Nickels was confident they selected a player with first-round talent with the 54th overall selection.

They chose power hitter Tommy Davis, a third baseman/first baseman, with their second-round choice. Davis, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound, right-handed hitter, hit .409 with 19 home runs and 82 RBIs for the University of Southern Mississippi.

He was projected to go 40th by Baseball America, which rated him as the second-best power hitter in the draft.

"We like his power," Nickels said. "He's very strong, probably the strongest bat in the draft. He drives the ball very well, and he's going to have home run power to all fields."

Nickels said the organization will use him at third base.

"I saw him work out at third, and we think he can play there," Nickels said. "He's not going to be a fancy Dan over there. His strength is going to be his bat and his power."

Roger Worley, a right-hander out of Quartz Hills High School in Southern California, was taken with the third-round selection. Baseball America projected him to go 51st. He struck out 91 batters in 59 innings.

"He has a big leg kick, and he's a good, hard thrower," Nickels said.

In the fourth round, the Orioles chose pitcher Jason Rogers from the University of Nevada. Rogers, a 6-6, 205-pound left-hander, went 0-1 with a 5.32 ERA in middle relief for Nevada, but impressed scouts with a 90-mph fastball.

Stanford right-hander Todd La- Rocca, an infielder who converted to relief pitching in the middle of this season, was taken with the Orioles' fifth choice.

Hammonds diagnosis the same

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews examined Orioles right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds yesterday and made the same diagnosis as Orioles team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs, according to general manager Roland Hemond.

"He agrees with all the findings of Dr. Jacobs," Hemond said. "It's a strained medial collateral ligament, an injury that should keep him out four to six weeks, and he is in his fourth week."

In the clutch

The Orioles have two of the top four clutch hitters in the American League this season, using average with runners in scoring position as the definition of clutch and 25 plate appearances as the minimum.

Who's first? Orioles third baseman Leo Gomez, with a .500 average. The rest: 2. New York's Paul O'Neill (.486); 3. Detroit's Chris Gomez (.469); 4. Cal Ripken (.451); 5. California's Jim Edmonds (.448); 6. New York's Wade Boggs (.439); 7. Minnesota's Chuck Knoblauch (.432); 8. Toronto's Paul Molitor (.426); 9T. Texas' Will Clark, California's Jorge Fabregas, New York's Luis Polonia (.409).

McDonald encouraged

Right-hander Ben McDonald, whose streak of consecutive starts without missing a turn ended at 80 yesterday when he was sidelined by a strained right groin, is confident he will begin another streak Tuesday, when he is scheduled for his next start in Kansas City, Mo.

"I felt real good," McDonald said after throwing in the bullpen for 15 minutes yesterday. "I'll throw again Saturday and do some fielding drills and if everything feels good, I'll pitch Tuesday."

Around the horn

Chris Hoiles, who has a seven-game hitting streak, is 4-for-5 with the bases loaded. . . . Brady Anderson followed a 13-game hitting streak with a two-game no-hit streak. . . . The Orioles have sold out their past 17 games at Camden Yards. . . . Umpire Terry Craft was released yesterday from University Hospital after passing a stress test. Craft, 39, was taken to the hospital one hour before game time Wednesday after experiencing chest pains. . . . Seven different Tigers hit home runs during the four-game series. . . . Rafael Palmeiro is hitting .515 with four home runs and eight RBIs in eight day games at Oriole Park. . . . Tiger Stadium (2.88) and Oriole Park (2.50) are 1-2 among AL stadiums for most home runs per game.

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