McLemore heads into trouble

SIDELIGHT

July 01, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

CLEVELAND -- The next time Orioles second baseman Mark McLemore has a chance to dive headfirst into a base, he hopes he uses his head first.

McLemore jammed his right shoulder stealing a base in Wednesday night's 7-6, 10-inning win over the Cleveland Indians and was out of the lineup last night.

Tim Hulett replaced McLemore at second base and could be in the lineup for the entire weekend series against the California Angels at Camden Yards, according to Orioles manager Johnny Oates.

"I'd like to give Hulett some at-bats anyway, so maybe we'll play him four or five days in a row to give it a chance to get better," Oates said.

The Angels start left-handers tomorrow and Sunday, so McLemore, hitting .185 right-handed, would not have been in the lineup anyway. Hulett made his first start last night since June 18.

McLemore said the injury has caused him to change his approach on the bases, which will make Orioles base-running coach Davey Lopes happy.

"Davey's been on me to stop diving for about three years now," McLemore said. "I guess I'll finally listen to him."

McLemore said sliding actually is quicker than diving and a lower injury risk. So why dive headfirst?

"As a second baseman, I know when I have to put on a tag, the guy who's sliding headfirst is actually down a little lower and harder to tag," McLemore said. "I'm going feet first from now on. At least, I'm going to try to remember to."

Lopes has voiced that preference to McLemore several times.

"There are more chances for you to get injured sliding headfirst," McLemore said. "Not necessarily a shoulder injury, but jamming your fingers, breaking your hand or your wrist."

McLemore ranks second to Brady Anderson (18-for-19) on the Orioles in stolen bases with 13 in 16 attempts. Rafael Palmeiro ranks third with four stolen bases.

McLemore said he was available last night only for pinch running.

"I wouldn't want to aggravate it swinging the bat and be out a week when I could have been back after a day," he said.

McLemore had played in all but four games going into last night's series finale at Cleveland.

McLemore has hit .355 in his past 21 games to hoist his batting average from .225 to .267.

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