Alexander regrets Dominican bias remarks Infielder says he has apologized to Johnson

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 14, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Manny Alexander suggested last week that part of the reason he hasn't played regularly is because he's from the Dominican Republic. Yesterday, he said that he regretted saying that, and that he's apologized to manager Davey Johnson.

"I felt bad after saying those things," Alexander said. "I was mad, I felt frustrated."

Orioles general manager Pat Gillick, Alexander said, "had a lot of Hispanics on his team when he was in Toronto, and when Davey was in Cincinnati last year, he had some Hispanics, like Jose Rijo. And he had a lot of blacks, too."

Alexander said he approached Johnson a day or so after his comments were published. "He knew I wanted a trade," Alexander said, "and he knew I was mad. I felt bad about it, so I told him I was sorry, and he said it was OK."

Alexander has started the last three games at third base, as B. J. Surhoff continues to nurse a sore ankle and Bill Ripken has been bothered by a bulging disk in his back.

Underestimating Palmeiro

A couple of weeks ago, first baseman Rafael Palmeiro told Orioles media relations director John Maroon that by the All-Star break, he would accumulate a .320 average with 20 homers and 65 RBIs by the All-Star Game July 9.

He may have underestimated himself. Palmeiro has 15 homers, 57 RBIs and a .325 average, and the Orioles have 23 games remaining before the break. At his current pace, Palmeiro would hit 39 homers and drive in 149 runs; his existing career highs are 39 homers (last year) and 105 RBIs (in 1993). Palmeiro has eight hits in his past nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.

But he wants more. "Think [Roberto] Alomar's happy hitting .400?" Palmeiro said. "He wants to hit .420. That's the attitude you've got to have, to have more and more and more."

Other members of the Orioles' lineup are thriving, as well, with three players besides Palmeiro on a pace to drive in more than 100 runs and two others on track to be just below 100 RBIs.

Alomar (0-for-3 last night) is hitting .394, with 10 homers and 51 RBIs. He is on a pace to hit 26 homers and drive in 133 runs. His existing career highs are 17 homers and 93 RBIs, in 1993.

Brady Anderson has 21 homers -- tying his career high last night -- and is on a pace to drive in 107 runs.

Cal Ripken has 12 homers and 48 RBIs, and is on a pace to hit 31 homers (three fewer than his career high, in 1991) and drive in 125 runs (his career high is 114, in 1991).

Bobby Bonilla, despite his bad start, has 37 RBIs, and is on a pace to drive in 97 runs.

B. J. Surhoff has 11 homers and 38 RBIs and is on a pace to hit homers and drive in 99 runs.

Collectively, the Orioles rank second in the majors with 99 homers, and have the fewest strikeouts of any team in the majors.

Before last night, only two teams had scored more runs than the Orioles (378, or 6.2 per game), and one, the Chicago White Sox (382), had played two more games.

Hooper snag develops

Outfielder Darren Hooper, the Orioles' third-round pick, said earlier this week that he reached an agreement for a signing bonus of $275,000 and money to finish his college education.

However, the negotiations have hit a bit of a snag, as the team and Hooper are haggling over the college money.

Assuming he completes his deal in time, Hooper and his family are expected to attend the Orioles' home game against the Texas Rangers on Monday.

Around the horn

The Orioles signed sixth-round pick Josh McNatt, a left-handed pitcher from Motlow State Community College in Tennessee. . . . Club officials spoke with Brian Falkenborg, the team's first pick, by phone on Wednesday night. Falkenborg is a right-handed pitcher from Redmond (Wash.) High School. . . . Orioles owner Peter Angelos will fly to Kansas City for tonight's game, when Ripken is scheduled to break Sachio Kinugasa's world record of 2,215 consecutive games. . . . Triple-A second baseman Brad Tyler, designated for assignment, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Rochester's roster.

Pub Date: 6/14/96

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