Hoiles waits for wife to flash baby sign Catcher carries beeper as firstborn is due any time

Orioles Notebook

April 20, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Any day, any hour, the beeper that Chris Hoiles carries could begin peeping and he might have to leave the Orioles.

His wife, Dana, is expecting the couple's first child any moment. "It could be any time now," said Hoiles, who will fly back to Baltimore as soon as he hears from Dana. "Family comes first, especially since this is our first one."

Hoiles hasn't talked to manager Davey Johnson directly about the situation, but he forewarned coach Andy Etchebarren on Thursday night, and Etchebarren passed on the word to the manager. Johnson said yesterday that Gregg Zaun would start in Hoiles' place, with B. J. Surhoff as the backup.

"Me, personally, I would like them to say, 'Take a couple of days,' " Hoiles said. "I want to make sure there's no problems with the baby and everything is 100 percent."

Or more. Doctors have told the Hoiles that the baby -- a boy --

already weighs 8 pounds and is gaining half a pound a week now.

Hoiles gave his beeper to trainer Richie Bancells before last night's game, in case Dana called during the game. "That's the one situation that worries me," Hoiles said. "What if the beeper goes off in the fifth inning? What do I do?"

He smiled, and looked down at the uniform he was wearing. "I guess I would go right to the airport like this," Hoiles said.

Mills progressing

Alan Mills threw batting practice for about 10 minutes yesterday, and assuming he suffers no unusual soreness in the next couple of days, he will throw in the bullpen again tomorrow and then fly to Florida to begin his minor-league rehabilitation assignment.

"He looked pretty good," said Johnson.

Zaun and Bill Ripken batted against Mills. "He had really good life on his fastball," Zaun said. "It was encouraging stuff."

Mills continues to throw only fastballs and changeups. After his first minor-league rehab appearance, pitching coach Pat Dobson said, Mills will begin throwing his slider.

Johnson said: "I think it's good that he's working with just his fastball, anyway, rather than relying on his breaking ball. He's learning how to add and subtract with his heater [fastball]."

Another O's streak

Brady Anderson thinks of himself as one of baseball's streakiest players. "Ideally, you'd like to stay hot the whole year," he said. "But realistically, I know that's not going to happen. . . . I've figured out the best way to go about things is to just grind it out and play."

Anderson started the season in a mini-slump, getting four hits -- three singles and a double -- in his first 23 at-bats (.174). But the Orioles came home and Anderson went on a tear, going 15-for-31 with four homers and nine RBIs in eight games. He continued to mash last night, leading off the game with a homer.

Huson in holding pattern

Jeff Huson, like Ripken and Manny Alexander, is trying to find ways to fill his time. As an extra infielder behind Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken and Surhoff, he has nothing to do except sit and watch and learn as much as possible without playing.

"As a professional, I would like to play," said Huson. "If anybody thinks I like sitting on the bench, they're crazy. But honestly, there's no way I should be playing, with the way this team is playing."

Huson knows, too, that any time the Orioles make a move, there's a chance he could be the guy removed from the roster. "My wife and I were talking about it at lunch today," Huson said.

"Obviously I would like to stay here all year with the opportunity to go to the playoffs and the World Series. But at the same time, I know my playing time is going to be very, very limited. You've got All-Stars at every position."

Around the horn

Orioles pitcher Kent Mercker and Mike Devereaux received their world championship rings from the Atlanta Braves during the homestand, via Federal Express. Each walked into the clubhouse to find a bulky Fed Ex package on their chairs. . . . The recently released movie, "The Substitute," stars Tom Berenger as a teacher who goes into a gang-infested high school and fights, against all odds, to show the kids a new way. The movie is set at Miami Jackson High -- the alma mater of Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro. . . . Johnson's mother and sister drove up from San Antonio to visit. , 78, still plays golf three times a week, her son said. . . . Jeffrey Hammonds rested a sore hamstring with Devereaux starting in left, but came on as a pinch hitter in the eighth. . . . The Orioles and Rangers will play in Turn Back the Clock uniforms tomorrow, with the Orioles wearing jerseys styled after those worn by the International League Orioles in the 1930s.

Pub Date: 4/20/96

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