Overlooked Palmeiro calls AL All-Star vote 'bogus' Expected more support from big home crowds

Orioles Notebook

June 05, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is hitting .308 with 12 homers, and is eighth in the AL in RBIs with 46, this after bashing 39 homers last season.

But he's not ranked among the top eight AL first basemen in All-Star balloting; Palmeiro is behind No. 1 Frank Thomas, No. 2 Will Clark, No. 3 Eddie Murray and No. 6 Paul Sorrento, among others, and he's not happy about that.

"It's bogus," Palmeiro said yesterday. "[I'm] going to be overlooked. I'll just take my three days [during the All-Star break] and rest, just like I always do."

In the past, fans haven't noticed his play, Palmeiro said. "What's different about this year? I don't even have 18,000 votes. The guy in eighth [Paul Molitor] has like 19,000. That's awful, for a team that draws 47,000 per game. They [fans in Camden Yards] are obviously voting. They're voting for Robbie [Alomar] and Cal [Ripken]."

Ripken and Alomar are leading shortstops and second basemen, respectively, in voting.

"The way we've drawn out here and what I've done here at home, I'd think I'd get more respect than that," he said. "I don't expect to be in first, because there are other guys more worthy than I am. But I don't expect guys who are designated hitters to be ahead of me."

Manager Davey Johnson said he shared Palmeiro's incredulity with the voting. "It's one thing I'm shocked about," Johnson said. "All that he does to help his club with his bat and his glove, and he gets no recognition. He has to be among the top five or 10 players in the league.

"I know he does [get recognition] among the coaches and the staff. I guess we're not going a good job of selling Rafael Palmeiro."

Field gets new look

Camden Yards has a new 'do, the grass cut in a different pattern. Rather than the old circular style, the grounds crew mowed the grass in what looks like a splayed Japanese fan, nine elongated triangles that begin at home plate and spread as they run toward the outfield wall.

Head groundskeeper Paul Zwaska said the staff was trying to come up with a new look for Saturday's broadcast on Fox.

"As simple as it is," Zwaska said, "I've never seen it before. I think it looks good."

Zwaska and his staff used a surveying tool to establish the lines, exactly 10 degrees apart. Brady Anderson, nursing a strained right quadriceps muscle, was in the starting lineup, after sitting out two games in California.

"Brady called in and said he's going to be fine," Johnson said. "I didn't like how he came into the ballpark. He's got a bad quad and he rolled in on roller blades. I don't know how that would be good for anything."

Anderson went 0-for-5, with three strikeouts.

B. Ripken back at third

Bill Ripken made his 11th consecutive start at third base last night, and B. J. Surhoff was the designated hitter. "B. J. thought he was better off DH-ing another day or so," Johnson said. "Billy's doing a good job, but if B. J. was healthy, I'd put him there."

Alomar is good, but . . .

The Orioles' forfeited their first-round pick to sign free agent Alomar and, Johnson says, "Alomar is worth two No. 1 picks." But Johnson doesn't want the Orioles forfeiting any more first-rounders. "You hate to lose your draft picks," he said, "because that's how you build your farm system."

Around the horn

With one last night, the Tigers have 59 errors, three times the average of the other 27 teams in the majors. . . . Armando Benitez won't start throwing for another few weeks, but he's running a lot and has lost 6 pounds. . . . The Orioles signed infielder Bien Figueroa for their Triple-A team. Figueroa, 31, was released by Mexico City on April 27. He last played in the United States for Triple-A Oklahoma City last year. . . . Right-hander Archie Corbin, designated for assignment Sunday, will return to Rochester today unless he's claimed off waivers by another team. . . . Jeff Huson, coming back from knee surgery, hit off a tee yesterday for the first time since his operation.

Pub Date: 6/05/96

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