Surhoff continues playing musical positions More comfortable in left, he shows versatility at 3rd

Orioles notebook

March 16, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - B. J. Surhoff continues to be shuffled around.

Surhoff played the entire game at third base yesterday, handling four chances with one throwing error. He played left field well on Thursday, while Bobby Bonilla manned third. Bonilla did not make the trip for the game against the Mets and manager Davey Johnson won't commit either player to any one position.

"I'm not quick to judge," Johnson said. "I want to give [Surhoff] playing time at third in case something happens as an alternative plan."

Surhoff looked much improved at third, showing good range and reaction.

"People wanted to write him off at third," said Johnson. "But he's looked pretty good over there."

Surhoff fielded five positions for Milwaukee last year: all three outfield spots, catcher and first base.

"I felt all right in left field," Surhoff said. "I feel more comfortable playing left than the other outfield positions. I've played there more. I've only been playing third base for a month. I'm sure I'll get better there the longer I play there."

Catcher Gregg Zaun would like to duplicate Surhoff's versatility.

Zaun has been borrowing Bill Ripken's glove to take infield practice at first, second and shortstop. He made his first career infield appearance on Thursday as a defensive replacement at first base. Zaun had trouble holding runners on, and needed some instruction from the bench.

Zaun said his short arms hindered his ability to place a tag and was thankful he didn't have to test his ability to snare a line drive.

"They yelled at me to stand in front of the base," Zaun said. "I never played there before. I was hoping that they would hit one to me, but those guys were afraid to see what I could do."

In all seriousness, Zaun knows that Johnson places a premium on versatility.

"I'll play anywhere they want me to play," Zaun said.

Trade update

General manager Pat Gillick said a trade for Blue Jays catcher Randy Knorr is unlikely, because the Orioles are not that excited about him. An AL source indicated Toronto was asking for more than Baltimore is willing to part with. Gillick said he does not expect to make any moves in the next two or three days. The Orioles, however, may be stepping up their search for a right-handed reliever.

Miscellaneous

Alan Mills' sore shoulder will prevent him from throwing until Monday at the earliest. Mills is very unlikely to start the regular season on time. . . . Johnson said starters David Wells and Kent Mercker threw on the side yesterday and both should be ready for tomorrow's doubleheader against the Mets . . . . The Orioles are holding tryouts for ballboys and ballgirls at Camden Yards tomorrow for high school and college students. Registration will be at Gate D between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Ups and downs

Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 9-3 loss to the New York Mets yesterday: Ups Cal Ripken hit his first home run of the spring, a three-run shot to left field in the seventh.

Downs Baltimore made two errors in the third inning, four in the game, including one by Cal Ripken that allowed two runs to score.

Starter Rick Krivda gave up six hits, one walk and three runs (one earned) in four innings.

Tony Tarasco went 0-for-2; he's 1-23 overall this spring and 0-5 as an Oriole.

Reliever Oscar Munoz, who has a good chance to make the team, threw consecutive wild pitches in the fifth inning to set up New York's fourth run, then served up a two-run homer to Chris Jones that cleared the 410-foot mark in dead center.

Mets starter and rookie phenom Paul Wilson stifled the Orioles for five shutout innings, allowing only Gregg Zaun's base hit in the third.

Pub Date: 3/16/96

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