No hit afield, Obando tries again, this time at 1st Ex-catcher/outfielder is a force at plate


March 01, 1996|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Sherman Obando had another good day at the plate in yesterday's intrasquad game, but he knows that isn't likely to improve his chances of making the major-league roster.

Everyone knows he can hit. He has to show he can do more than that.

"Hitting is my best part," said Obando, who doubled off the center-field wall and had a home run snatched off the top of the fence by left fielder Mike Devereaux. "I'm trying to do the rest of it."

The rest of it used to be catching. He broke in behind the plate, but several knee surgeries later, he moved to the outfield. Now, after years of trying to prove he can play out there adequately, he has a new challenge. Manager Davey Johnson is working him out at first base.

So far, so good. Obando, 26, played well there yesterday, making every play that came to him and one he could have been forgiven for missing, but he's still something of a long shot to make the Opening Day lineup.

"That's my goal, to make the team and stay there for good," he said. "I'm ready for whatever role they'll give me, but I have a lot of work to do this spring."

Johnson apparently will look at him as a DH and reserve first baseman. He said yesterday that Obando probably won't get a lot of time in the outfield, even though he played there full time during a very successful winter ball season in the Dominican Republic.

"He's not Keith Hernandez over there [at first]," Johnson said, "but he looked OK and he made a good play on a ball by B. J. [Surhoff]."

Hammonds on the run

Jeffrey Hammonds proved yesterday that he is not overly concerned about his reconstructed right knee. He was thrown out going from first to third on a hit in the third inning of the intrasquad game, but played aggressively and looked comfortable.

"I'm just playing -- trying to work out the kinks," he said. "There is no comparison with last year. It's a new me. Last year, I tried to work with it when it wasn't new, and it told me that."

Hall stays hot

Journeyman outfielder Joe Hall had another big day at the plate. He doubled and singled and had another shot that was stolen on a diving play by Bill Ripken at third base. In the two intrasquad games, the 29-year-old nonroster invitee had four hits and hit the ball hard in each of his six at-bats.

"He's swinging the bat good," Johnson said, "but it's so early. I'm just trying to give guys an opportunity to play and get their timing down."

Myers limbers up

Closer Randy Myers threw to hitters for the first time this spring yesterday. He threw batting practice and reported no problems.

Krivda agrees to terms

Pitcher Rick Krivda agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $125,000 if he makes the team and $47,000 if he plays in the minors, leaving just Hammonds and infielder Manny Alexander unsigned. Hammonds is expected to sign today for close to $300,000.

Hoiles taking it slow

Catcher Chris Hoiles appeared in yesterday's intrasquad game as a designated hitter, and probably won't catch during the first few games of the exhibition season. Johnson wants to avoid a recurrence of the shoulder soreness that plagued Hoiles last season.

"It's kind of a mutual thing between me and Davey," Hoiles said. "He said he is going to DH me for a few games and go from there. The first games of spring training don't mean anything. My main object is to be ready for April."

Ex-coach Ralph Rowe dead

Ralph Rowe, who coached Orioles batters from 1981 to 1984, including the 1983 world champions, died yesterday in his hometown of Newberry, S.C., former coach Jimmy Williams said. Rowe was 71.

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