New order to be tested for a while

SIDELIGHT

June 15, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,Sun Staff Writer

CLEVELAND -- The Orioles' lineup is posted just outside the trainer's room here, and as players arrived before last night's game and glanced at the batting order, there were some double-takes.

Orioles manager Phil Regan, having watched his team go through an 0-for-22 stretch with runners on base, made major alterations to his lineup, and said he'll test the changes for the next few games.

From the top:

Rookie center fielder Curtis Goodwin, hitting .478, was inserted into the leadoff spot, and left fielder Brady Anderson, who slumped to .251 after a tremendous start, was dropped to No. 2.

"Curtis is going pretty well right now, and he gives us some stolen bases," said Regan. "We want to get him some more at-bats."

As well as some more fastballs for Anderson. On the few occasions Goodwin has led off, Anderson has gotten some good pitches to hit, in part because pitchers have been distracted by Goodwin's presence on the bases.

Shortstop Cal Ripken was moved from cleanup to third in the order, and No. 3 hitter Rafael Palmeiro batted fourth. Regan said when Goodwin, Anderson and Palmeiro hit 1-2-3, opposing managers will have the luxury of throwing a left-handed reliever in the late innings to face the three consecutive left-handed hitters. By batting Ripken third, Regan breaks up the trio of left-handed hitters. Regan also hoped that by batting Palmeiro behind Ripken, Ripken will get better pitches to hit -- like Barry Bonds batting behind Matt Williams has helped Williams.

Palmeiro had just five at-bats in the cleanup spot last year, getting one hit, but he occasionally batted fourth with the Texas Rangers.

"It doesn't matter," Palmeiro said. "Third or fourth, it doesn't matter. There's some logic behind it."

Jeffrey Hammonds hit fifth, Harold Baines sixth and Jeff Manto seventh, giving the Orioles a left-right-left-right-left from Anderson to Baines.

Catcher Chris Hoiles, in a horrible slump that has lasted most of the season, was dropped to eighth, just three weeks after he had batted cleanup. Regan said Tuesday that if the Orioles are to get back in the AL East race, they will need more run production from Hoiles and backup catcher Matt Nokes. Hoiles went into last night's game with a .191 average, 19 RBIs, 34 strikeouts and seven extra-base hits in 110 at-bats.

"We want to take a little pressure off him," Regan said. "He won't have to worry about hitting behind Harold Baines, getting hits if [opposing pitchers] work around Harold Baines."

Second baseman Manny Alexander, hitting .197, was dropped to ninth in the order.

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