Chat with Sparky helps 'useless' Johnson Dejected O's manager gets lift from ex-Tigers boss

Orioles Notebook

June 03, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Orioles manager Davey Johnson was sitting on the bench yesterday morning, his demeanor somewhat mournful, when Sparky Anderson appeared in the corner of the dugout.

Johnson leapt to his feet. "Sparky!" Johnson said. "Come and tell me what I'm doing wrong."

So Johnson and the former Cincinnati and Detroit manager chatted for about 15 minutes, a conversation that Johnson said made him feel much better.

"What really enlightened me is [Anderson said] he went a week or 10 days and never gave a sign," Johnson said. "I felt like that the last few days, and at times it's depressing. At times, with the pitching, you feel useless. It was good to hear that from him.

"It was a pick-me-up. Sometimes you think you feel useless, and you want to help somehow. . . . There's a lot to learn from Sparky. [Tom] Lasorda is the same way."

Surhoff gets back in swing

The Orioles activated third baseman B. J. Surhoff yesterday, and he started at designated hitter, with Bill Ripken remaining at third. Surhoff, coming back from a sprained ankle, had two doubles and two RBIs in four at-bats.

Surhoff said: "It's good to come off and face a guy [Jim Abbott] you've faced so much before. Shoot, I was just trying to join in the parade.

"[The Angels] dropped a snowman early on us [Saturday], and we built a snowman early, too."

A snowman: the numeral 8, for eight runs.

Johnson said: "We've played pretty good while he's been out, but he's sorely missed. No slight at anybody, but he's one of your key guys."

To make room for Surhoff, the Orioles designated right-hander Archie Corbin for assignment. Corbin, who allowed eight walks, four hits and two runs in 7 2/3 innings, likely will clear waivers in three days and then, assuming he accepts the assignment, be headed back to Triple-A Rochester.

Anderson hopes to return

But just as the Orioles get one player back, they may lose another. Johnson said he didn't know whether center fielder Brady Anderson will go on the disabled list, after re-straining his right quadriceps muscle in Friday night's game. Anderson has sat out the last two games.

"I just heard that it was sorer than before," Johnson said. "What that means, I don't know."

Anderson says he could be ready to play tomorrow night when the Orioles open a three-game series against the Tigers. "I'm not afraid of re-injuring it," said Anderson. "I'm just prepared to play through it and play with a little discomfort. It's what you have to do."

Up 14, and diving

The Orioles led by 14 runs in the seventh inning when Roberto Alomar hit an infield roller to second, and to beat the throw to first, Alomar dived headfirst into the bag -- his third hit.

"That's the way I play this game," Alomar said. "I knew I had a chance to get a hit. That's the way you should play all the time -- a lot of people respect you for it."

A month to remember

Not surprisingly, Alomar's name appeared near the top of various categories for the AL leaders in May. He was first in batting average (.421) and on-base average (.491), second in hits (40 -- Mo Vaughn had 42) and tied for seventh in runs (22).

Mike Mussina was third in strikeouts (40) and Rafael Palmeiro was tied for third in walks (22).

Devo rebounds

Mike Devereaux came out of a significant slump with two hits, two walks and four runs yesterday. Devereaux began the day with just two hits in his previous 33 at-bats.

"I know times like this happen," Devereaux said. "I just have to keep a cool head and stay confident and try not to press, although it's very difficult not to."

Abbott free fall continues

Abbott is having perhaps the worst season of any pitcher in the AL so far, his record at 1-9, his ERA up to 7.38 after he allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings to the Orioles yesterday.

California manager Marcel Lachemann said afterward that the Angels, with a day off coming up, likely will skip Abbott in the rotation.

Abbott said: "Physically, I feel fine. I just haven't been making good pitches. Maybe I'm a little out of rhythm. When things go wrong, you look for answers in different places. They may be right . . . [but] you look for some things that will click in and give you some confidence."

Around the horn

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