Devereaux not thrilled by Brave new world Platooned in Atlanta, he wants to regain regular job


June 22, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Mike Devereaux is grateful for the World Series ring he won with the Atlanta Braves last year, but he says it may have changed the way he is perceived.

Devereaux was a starter virtually his entire career before joining the Braves in a platoon role late last season. Now, he is fighting for an everyday job with the Orioles.

"I knew when I signed here it was not meant for me to be a starter, but I thought I had a good chance to change that," Devereaux said. "I can see that I'm thought of differently since going to Atlanta. I hadn't been in a platoon since 1989-90. Last year I hit over .300 playing every day in Chicago. I want to play every day."

Devereaux, the starting designated hitter last night, has shared time in the outfield with Luis Polonia, Mark Smith and Jeffrey Hammonds this year. Devereaux said the lack of consistent playing time and a nagging shoulder injury have contributed to his .231 average, but neither is an excuse.

"It's tough to sit on the bench and then go in and out of the lineup," Devereaux said. "It's something I'm not accustomed to. I feel like I need to get two or three hits a night to stay in the next day. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I need to regroup."

Before going 2-for-4 last night, Devereaux was batting .189 (23-for-122) in his last 32 games. His double in the second inning was his fourth extra-base hit since May 9.

Hoiles denies blasting staff

Chris Hoiles said a Washington Post column in which he was quoted as criticizing the Orioles' pitching staff was inaccurate.

Hoiles particularly objected to the following passage in which he was quoted as saying:

"[The starting pitchers] don't have a plan. They don't know how to set up a hitter. They overthrow and get the ball up in the middle of the plate where anybody can hit it."

Hoiles' response:

"I think I was misunderstood, misinterpreted and misquoted. I never said anything to rip the pitchers. It's not in my personality. Shoot, I haven't done anything this year to be in a position to be ripping other people on this team. [The columnist] is expressing himself through me. That isn't me."

Bonilla is in a groove

Bobby Bonilla is back in his comfort zone.

Bonilla has hit in 16 of the last 19 games, with a .403 (29-for-72) average with three home runs and 15 RBIs. Bonilla attributes some of his success to playing in the field every day. He's hit .210 as a DH, but .355 when playing the field.

"I'm much more comfortable than at the beginning of the year," said Bonilla, who was 2-for-2 with a sacrifice fly last night. "I'm definitely looking forward to finishing the first half like this and starting the second half the same way. I'm playing, so I'm comfortable."

Gillick not mad at Hammonds

General manager Pat Gillick said he was not upset that Hammonds took the full allotted 72 hours to report to Rochester after being demoted to Triple-A on Monday.

Hammonds told manager Davey Johnson that he would join the Red Wings on Tuesday.

"It's not a big issue," Gillick said. "Once he leaves here, he belongs to [director of player development] Syd Thrift."

Hammonds' demotion and a nagging groin injury to Polonia prompted Johnson to express concerns over the lack of outfield depth in the Orioles' system.

Outfielder Mark Whiten, who played for Gillick in Toronto, was available after being released by the Philadelphia Phillies this week, but Gillick said he has no interest in signing him. Whitten is likely to end up with Seattle.

Benitez is looking up . . .

Orioles officials are very pleased with Armando Benitez' work ethic at extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla. The team had been critical of the young reliever when Benitez was in Baltimore during his stay on the 60-day disabled list.

Benitez, who is recovering from a strained elbow ligament, will be re-evaluated in July and the club is optimistic he will return sometime this season.

. . . but not Tarasco

Johnson said he believes Rochester outfielder Tony Tarasco will miss the rest of the season with a muscle tear in his throwing shoulder. Tarasco got a second medical opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. Frank Jobe in California yesterday. "I think he's getting scoped," said Johnson.

Around the horn

The Orioles signed two more draft picks yesterday. University of Massachusetts pitcher Chad Paronto, an eighth-round pick, and 15th-round selection Josh Towers from Oxnard Junior College in California both came to terms. The Orioles have now signed 17 of their 46 picks. . . . The Orioles are the most effective team in the league at scoring runs in situations when a runner is on third and less than two outs. The Orioles had capitalized on 57.4 percent of those opportunities before last night. Second baseman Roberto Alomar was fifth in the league, driving in runs in 15 of 20 chances. Chuck Knoblauch was tops, converting on 10 of 11 opportunities. . . . The crowd of 47,644 was the sixth-largest in the five-year history of the ballpark. . . . Kansas City's Chris Haney was making his fourth start against the Orioles this year. The son of former Orioles catcher Larry Haney is 0-3 with a 7.18 ERA lifetime against the O's.

Pub Date: 6/22/96

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