Orioles play wait-and-see game with rainy skies Bill Ripken makes roster

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

J. Myers in holding pattern

April 01, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

The game's still on.

The Orioles have decided to wait and see what the weather looks like today before deciding whether to postpone Opening Day, club officials said.

The Philadelphia Phillies, based on weather forecasts calling for rain throughout the day, decided yesterday to postpone their opener until tomorrow. 's throwing out the first ball.

"There are a lot of people coming to our opening game," Foss said. "It's a tough decision."

Foss said the team has two things working in its favor: high-tech weather equipment and a field that can absorb a lot of water.

The Orioles can make up the game against the Kansas City Royals tomorrow, a day off for both teams. That has happened XTC only once in the team's history, in 1972 against the New York Yankees.

J. Myers on the bubble

The only thing as uncertain as today's opener is the status of .

The Orioles made Bill Ripken the 24th player on the 25-man roster yesterday, but they are holding off on making Myers No. 25.

That's news to Myers, a 26-year-old career minor-leaguer who yesterday received congratulations from the likes of .

"They said I made the team," Myers said. "I don't think they'd tell me I made the team."

Not so fast. According to league rules, the Orioles can carry 24 players while shopping around for a 25th. Club officials apparently are interested in acquiring another right-handed pitcher off waivers from a National League team.

Myers, who had a 2.00 ERA in seven spring training appearances, said he has earned the chance to prove himself.

"I worked hard, I had a great spring," Myers said. "I think I deserve it, to get my shot to show what I can do in the big leagues."

Not making the team would be a crushing blow for Myers, who is entering his 10th professional season but never has appeared in a major-league game.

He came as close as you can get with the Orioles last season.

Called up June 23, Myers spent five games with the team but never got a chance to pitch. Even though the last two games were blowouts, Myers was sent back to Rochester on June 28 without his first major-league appearance.

"They were perfect opportunities to get in a big-league game," Myers said. "It really played havoc for me when I got sent down."

Myers admittedly sulked, finished the season 0-3 with a 4.59 ERA, and did not get a September call-up. It was Myers' second near-miss in the majors. In 1992, he made the San Francisco Giants out of spring training until Scott Garrelts decided to come off the disabled list.

This off-season, Myers rededicated himself to making it. He began getting in shape the first week in October and said his arm "hasn't felt this good since I was 21."

An Oklahoma native drafted as a catcher, Myers is popular with his Orioles teammates. A minor-league coach named him "Country." Last season, Anderson changed it to "Big Country," after fellow Oklahoma native and NBA center Bryant Reeves.

"Brady said I'm the big country of baseball and Reeves is the big country of basketball," Myers said. "Hopefully, I'll live up to the name."

Infield chatter

The usually-lush infield at Camden Yards is playing , who is not cutting the grass any shorter, attributed it to the cold weather. Zwaska said the grass isn't as thick as it normally is at this time of year.

"If we ever get some spring weather here, the grass will thicken up," Zwaska said.

A thick infield is vital for ground-ball pitchers, such as Scott Erickson, who starts Thursday, and reliever Roger McDowell.

In other groundskeeping news, Zwaska said during the off-season the team replaced the infield dirt that players complained had pieces of glass in it. Zwaska also changed the topsoil color from a grayish hue to a chocolate brown.

Hoiles says he's ready

Catcher Chris Hoiles, who threw out Len Dykstra in Saturday's exhibition, said his arthritic throwing shoulder is at full strength. "I felt great yesterday," said Hoiles, who has gone back to his old throwing motion. "I'm 100 percent and ready for the season."

Haynes scrutinized

Struggling fifth starter Jimmy Haynes threw in the bullpen yesterday under the watchful eye of pitching coach Pat Dobson.

Haynes, who finished spring training with a 9.78 ERA, was overthrowing in those games but not in the bullpen.

"He's throwing good in the bullpen for me every time before the games," Dobson said. "He's got to be a little more aggressive, get ahead of the hitters, and get his breaking ball over. He was good today."

Pub Date: 4/01/96

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