Oates now hopes Sabo is right man for right job


June 13, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Brady Anderson will be back in left field when the Orioles return to Camden Yards tonight for the opening of a four-game series against the New York Yankees.

Where does that leave Chris Sabo, who stood sentry for three games at the Green Monster over the weekend in his outfield debut?

"Sabo's going to go to right," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said. "Brady will be in left because there is more area to cover in left-center."

Anderson has a stronger arm than Sabo, but covering ground was a more important consideration, Oates said.

"I'm not too worried about the throw," Oates said. "[Mark] McLemore's done it. [Joe] Orsulak's done it. Maybe we'll have Sabo play some third too with Leo [Gomez] at DH."

Oates said he doesn't have a set plan as to where Sabo will play, DTC he only knows he wants to keep his bat in the second spot in the order.

"He's continued his work at third base," Oates said. "I'd just like to get his bat in the lineup. When you have a guy who has put up his numbers for the last seven seasons, you've got to find some way to get him in the lineup."

Oates praised the job Sabo did in left field at Fenway Park.

"I don't expect him to be Willie Mays," Oates said. "But he didn't embarrass himself, me or the ballclub, that's for sure. The idea isn't to make him a full-time outfielder, but I want to make him a full-time player."

The Orioles face left-handers in the last three games of the series, which could mean playing time for Tim Hulett and Lonnie Smith, Oates said.

Oates to fans: Support Sabo

What kind of response will Sabo get from the Camden Yards crowd that booed him last time he played there?

Oates hopes the fans at sold-out Camden Yards will judge Sabo by his recent actions, not by the words he used in airing his desire to be traded to a team that will play him at third base on an everyday basis.

"I would hope they greet him warmly and encourage him," Oates said. "We need encouragement. The last thing we need is for a couple of people to take out their frustrations on him. We need our fans behind us.

It's hard enough to play this game when everyone's on your side. The last thing we need is for the fans to be against one of our players and I don't think they will be."

Referring indirectly to reports about his job security and a supposed rift between he and assistant general manager Frank Robinson, Oates put out a call for harmony.

"Instead of worrying about front-office factions and those things, it's time to forget about all that stuff, go on and be one," Oates said. "Let us concentrate on playing baseball for a while, which we have not been able to do much lately. It's a good time for us all to get together and be on the same side and I include the fans in that."

Homeward bound

The Orioles play 20 of their 27 games before the All-Star break at Camden Yards, starting with a 10-game homestand that opens tonight when the Yankees come to town.

"I'm not worried about later in the summer because later in the summer may never come," Oates said. "It's important for us to play as well as we can play between now and the All-Star Game. We picked a good time to get hot and I would like to see us continue to play the way we have the last three or four days."

After the Yankees, Minnesota and Milwaukee visit Camden Yards. The Orioles then visit Toronto and Cleveland (four games) before playing host to California, Seattle and Oakland.

Error, Melvin

With the departure of Judge Gregg Olson, the Orioles no longer have a Kangaroo Court, but if they did they would be preparing a three-fine case against assistant general manager Doug Melvin, who is a far better judge of baseball talent than a bare-handed fielder of pop-ups.

Melvin, seated near the Orioles' dugout with wife Ellen and children Ashley and Cory, dropped a pop-up during Saturday's game and could be brought up on the following charges: 1. Obstructing play; 2. Not wearing a sport coat (in violation of a recent team rule); 3. Falling on his family.

Melvin, who once scored 55 points in a high school basketball game, went 29-19 in six seasons as a minor-league pitcher.

Melvin never made it to the majors, but he did make it to "Sportscenter," dropping a pop-up for the world to see.

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