It's only routine for Sabo 2nd time around in left

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 12, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Chris Sabo played left field for the second day in a row and the second time in his life yesterday during the Orioles' 5-2 victory over the Red Sox.

Unlike the first time, Sabo was not the focal point of the game. One day after handling seven chances flawlessly, he did not touch the baseball until the ninth inning, when he played Mo Vaughn's two-run double efficiently.

Sabo did trigger the offense, however, reaching on a one-out walk in the first. He scored from there on Rafael Palmeiro's one-out double to the left-field corner. Palmeiro scored on Harold Baines' two-out single to right, giving the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Johnny Oates had Sabo's bat, not his glove, in mind when he put Sabo in left field.

The manager has liked both.

His presence at the top of the order should be a plus.

"Mentally, I think it might have an effect on the whole lineup," Oates said. "I think the guys have a lot of confidence in him doing things up there. He knows how to play the game."

Defensively?

"He was chasing balls all over the place during batting practice," Oates said. "He just wants to play."

With the Orioles leading 5-0 going into the ninth, Oates did not replace Sabo in the field.

"I want him to play and get as much experience as he can out there," Oates said. "If we had a one-run lead or a two-run lead, you might want to take him out. But it's OJT, on-the-job training. Go out there and play. The more innings he can play, the more at ease he will be."

After walking and scoring a run in the first, Sabo was hitless in his next four trips to the plate one day after going 2-for-5 with two runs, a double and the game-winning home run.

"Sabo's a great hitter regardless of where he hits," said Baines. "If you need to move a runner over, he moves a runner over. He makes contact, he's got power and he's done it for several years."

Baines prolific at Fenway

Baines, a man of few words and many hits, has hit particularly well at Fenway Park over the years. He has a .350 career average at Fenway Park, where he has hit six home runs in 157 at-bats.

Does he enjoy hitting at Fenway?

"The last two days I did," Baines said. "I don't worry about the past. That's the way every baseball player should be. All you have control over is today."

The man wastes few words, not to mention at-bats.

Baines hit .360 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 16 games in April, .259 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 22 May games, and is hitting .324 with three home runs and seven RBIs in nine June games.

Baines went 2-for-3 yesterday, hit his ninth home run, singled in a run and walked and scored a run.

Hammonds: Bad, good day

Right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds continues to experience ups and downs in recovering from a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Hammonds is working out in Sarasota, Fla., under minor-league medical coordinator Brian Ebel.

Oates was encouraged by yesterday's report.

"The last couple of days he felt it a little running figure eights, but the running went very well [yesterday], much more encouraging," Oates said. "He's supposed to start taking some soft toss [hitting drills]. He's not going to play baseball until all the pain is gone."

Frohwirth demoted

Credit the Orioles with the right call this spring on which side-arming right-hander to keep in the bullpen.

The Orioles released Todd Frohwirth and kept Mark Eichhorn. Frohwirth, picked up by Boston, started the year at Triple-A Pawtucket and returned there after allowing three hits and a run in one-third of an inning Friday night against the Orioles. Frohwirth had a 10.38 ERA for the Red Sox.

Meanwhile, Eichhorn has a 16-inning scoreless streak and a 2.59 ERA for the Orioles.

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