Alexander: Race a factor in lack of playing time Says Dominican background keeping him on O's bench

Sidelight

June 07, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

Orioles utility man Manny Alexander, unhappy over a lack of playing time, said he's thinking about quitting and also said that one reason he's not playing is because he's from the Dominican Republic.

Alexander said fellow utility infielders Bill Ripken and Jeff Huson (currently on the disabled list) get more playing time because they are white Americans.

"Every time, the American guy gets the first chance," Alexander said. "[They] never give the Dominican guy the first chance or the second chance."

Alexander referred to Bill Ripken's recent 12-game stint at third base and the treatment of former Orioles reserve outfielder Luis Mercedes (1991-1993) as examples of what he says is prejudice.

"Before the season started, I knew Billy was going to play before me," Alexander said. "I knew if anybody got hurt, Billy was going to play before me. It hurts my feelings. All the Dominicans, they get the last chance."

Orioles general manager Pat Gillick said his organization's decisions have been fair and unbiased.

"This organization is not prejudiced against anyone," Gillick said. "They give everyone every opportunity in the world to prove themselves."

Alexander, 25, has spent the past seven years in the Orioles organization as the shortstop-in-waiting behind Cal Ripken, who has played in 2,208 consecutive games.

Reiterating comments he made April 12 about his desire to be traded, Alexander said yesterday he's thinking about quitting.

"I want to get off this team," he said. "Trade me, release me, or I'll release myself. If I have to, I'll quit."

Alexander said the issue is playing time, not money.

"I never play so I don't deserve the money," he said.

Gillick said he has no immediate intention of trading or releasing Alexander.

"I think the guy's frustrated by not playing," Gillick said. "I am somewhat happy he is disturbed because that shows he wants to play."

Alexander, who made his last start May 19 at second base, has been used largely as a pinch runner and a defensive replacement this season.

Last week in Seattle, Orioles manager Davey Johnson had considered moving Cal Ripken to third base and playing Alexander at shortstop.

Alexander, who's hitting .200 (4-for-20), said all along that the switch would never happen, and he was right. Johnson decided against it because Ripken was too hot offensively, the team was playing well and Surhoff was due back from the disabled list.

Alexander played in a career-high 94 major-league games last season, splitting time at second base with Bret Barberie. Alexander's natural position is shortstop, and he said he wants to go to another team to prove himself at short.

"It's nothing personal," Alexander said. "I hope everybody on this team does well."

Alexander said his comments are not an inflammatory attempt to get himself traded.

"I said it because it's true," Alexander said. "It's the truth."

Pub Date: 6/07/96

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