Yankees could be start of regular Rhodes role Johnson says solid outing would ensure more starts

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

April 30, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

Arthur Rhodes could get another starting assignment after tonight's start against the New York Yankees.

Rhodes (3-0) threw five shutout innings in the Orioles' 3-2 victory last Thursday over the Kansas City Royals.

That was Rhodes' first start of the season. If he makes it two good starts in a row, Orioles manager Davey Johnson said Rhodes could stay in the rotation.

"If Arthur's pitching like he's been pitching, to me 65 percent of the ballgame is starting pitching," Johnson said. "If you can get six or seven innings out of him, that's what's most important to the team."

Rhodes had gotten comfortable working out of the bullpen but has said he doesn't mind starting as long as his role is defined and he's pitching regularly. His manager agrees.

"This is what's best for his development, regular work right now," Johnson said.

Rhodes did not have much success against the Yankees last season. He had a 10.57 ERA in two games, allowing 12 hits and nine earned runs in 7 2/3 innings. Lifetime Rhodes is 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA against the Yankees.

Frankly speaking

Frank Robinson had a lot to say after Brady Anderson broke his club record by hitting 11 home runs in April.

"If he had done that while I was managing, I might be still managing today," Robinson said from his southern California home.

Anderson, who also tied the major-league record for April homers, joked that he couldn't wait to speak to Robinson and that his former manager would come up with some excuse.

Sure enough, Robinson pointed out that the Orioles only played 23 games in April 1969, the year he set the previous club mark of 10 home runs. The Orioles tonight finish off a 26-game April.

"You know what they say, put an asterisk by it," Robinson said. "They did it when [Roger] Maris broke Ruth's record."

Bonilla back at DH

Bobby Bonilla was the designated hitter for the second straight game after Johnson said he would play Bonilla more in the outfield to help him out of his hitting slump.

Johnson said Bonilla's OK with being a DH.

"We've had conversations on the road, like every day," Johnson said. "The majority of our conversations he's said, 'If that's what you want, I can deal with it.' "

Bonilla went 0-for-4 last night and is hitless in his past 19 at-bats, dropping his average to .196.

Johnson's only worry is that the DH role is affecting Bonilla's productivity.

"I felt like if anybody could do it, it'd be one of my best hitters who could deal with it," Johnson said. "What I'm concerned about is putting an individual in a situation they're comfortable with, so they can play at a higher level."

Mills on the mend

Reliever Alan Mills, who is coming off off-season shoulder surgery, threw four shutout innings yesterday during a rehabilitation assignment in Sarasota, Fla.

He threw 41 pitches, allowed one hit and struck out one in a Florida Instructional League game. Scouts said Mills had an above average fastball and good control of his breaking pitches.

His next appearance is scheduled to be Saturday at Bowie.

Around the horn

The fans who caught Anderson's club record-tying and record-breaking home runs gave the balls to Anderson in exchange for post-game meetings with the Orioles' April slugger and autographed bats. . . . Highly regarded pitching prospect was rocked in his Rochester outing yesterday, allowing eight earned runs and five hits in 1 2/3 innings. . . . Former Orioles third baseman Jeff Manto has not signed with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. He has been released by his Japanese team, but has to clear waivers. . . . .

Pub Date: 4/30/96

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