Anderson could lead off RBI record book, too Center fielder on pace to break Kuenn mark of 85

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 18, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora and Peter Schmuck | Jason LaCanfora and Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

Brady Anderson is moving from a career year to what may be a record-setting one.

After hitting two home runs and driving in five runs Sunday night, the Orioles center fielder is on pace to break the all-time mark for RBIs by a leadoff man (85), set by Harvey Kuenn in 1956.

"It's too early to think about that right now," said Anderson, who has 49 RBIs and whose 23rd and 24th home runs improved upon his previous high of 21, which he accomplished in 1992. "Back then [in 1992], I didn't think about breaking the record as much as I should. I remember I had 56 RBIs at the All-Star break that year."

Anderson said he's not concerned with eclipsing the 100-RBI plateau, but he is worried about another barrier. "One hundred runs scored," Anderson said. "I think about that."

Anderson had 56 runs scored going into last night. He scored 100 runs in 1992 and 108 last year.

His highest RBI total was 80 in 1992. Anderson also set a career high for average in 1992, batting .271. He went into last night hitting .312.

Coppinger reflects

Rookie pitcher Rocky Coppinger had some time to sit back yesterday and contemplate his first big-league road trip.

Coppinger won his first two games in the majors in Detroit and Kansas City.

"It's a lot better than I thought it would be," Coppinger said. "I'm starting to relax and enjoy it a little more. I didn't know how the guys would like me, but everyone is real easy to get along with."

Coppinger got banged around in both starts and has a hefty 6.55 ERA, but he showed a glimpse of the stuff that made him an overpowering pitcher at all levels of the Orioles' minor-league system. He has struck out eight in 11 innings and his comfort zone is growing.

"I felt totally different the second time out," Coppinger said. "I was a lot more relaxed and the team scored a lot of runs behind me. It's exciting being here in crunch time, to be in a pennant race."

Huson headed for minors

Utility man Jeff Huson practiced turning double plays yesterday and is close to being ready to return from knee surgery, but he won't head out on an injury rehabilitation assignment until late next week.

"I'll probably go out a week from Thursday and spend about eight to 10 days," Huson said. "That's probably five or six days longer than I thought it would take, but that will give me the opportunity to get the at-bats I need."

Iron men to part

Shortstop Cal Ripken and Japanese iron man Sachio Kinugasa held their last news conference together yesterday at Camden Yards. Kinugasa is scheduled to return to Japan today.

Ripken expressed relief that the streak now may cease to be a media event until it ends, but he wouldn't join others who say his record is truly unbreakable.

"The likelihood of someone doing it in the near future isn't very likely, because the numbers aren't there," Ripken said. "But I don't consider myself superhuman either physically or mentally, so if I can do it, somebody else can."

Hooper works out

Daren Hooper, the Orioles' third-round pick in the June draft, was in Baltimore yesterday to work out with the team.

Hooper, a 20-year-old outfielder, signed with the Orioles last week after playing fullback at the University of Arizona in the fall. He will report to extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla., today.

"I'm glad I finally got the contract stuff done," Hooper said. "I want to get back on the field."

Manager Davey Johnson said he was impressed by Hooper's 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame.

"He may be another Kirby Puckett," Johnson said. "We'll have to wait and see."

Henneman hurting

The Texas Rangers probably will be without relief closer Mike Henneman for the Orioles series. Henneman, who blew back-to-back save opportunities over the weekend, has a stiff shoulder.

Around the horn

Former Minnesota Twins stars Tony Oliva and Kent Hrbek were at Camden Yards to film the park. They are leading a campaign to build a new ballpark in Minnesota to replace the Metrodome. . . . Roberto Alomar was in a 5-for-28 slump (.179) going into last night since raising his average to .412 during the last homestand. He still led the majors in hitting at .384. . . . The Orioles' flight did not arrive from Kansas City until nearly 5 a.m. yesterday and most players did not get home until 6 a.m.

Pub Date: 6/18/96

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