Batting second is OK, Anderson tells Johnson Ousted leadoff man: 'I'll do anything it takes to win'

ORIOLES Notebook

July 01, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Orioles manager Davey Johnson said he met with Brady Anderson yesterday to discuss Anderson's recent move from the leadoff spot.

Johnson said Anderson wanted to clarify that he did not mind being switched to the second spot in the order. Johnson said Anderson was reacting to some comments Johnson made at the time of the lineup switch, specifically, when Johnson said, "I know Brady is going to think this is terrible."

Said Johnson: "Brady said, 'I'm not that way, Skip. I don't feel that way [about the switch].' I know he likes to hit leadoff, that's no secret."

Anderson, who hit his major-league-leading 27th home run yesterday with his first three-run shot (19 have been with the bases empty), said he understands he was moved to help spark the offense. He said he knows the move is not a reflection of his play.

"I want to win and I'll do anything it takes to win," Anderson said. "At times in the past maybe I fought hard to remain a leadoff hitter. Before I thought I was the best leadoff hitter for the team. From what I recall, I just told [Johnson] I want to play."

Anderson returned to center field after missing Saturday's game with a stiff shoulder.

Johnson pitches O's

Johnson knows which Orioles pitchers he'd like to see in the All-Star Game on July 9.

Johnson said he sent in his recommendations to American League manager Mike Hargrove about two weeks ago. Johnson included Orioles starter Mike Mussina and closer Randy Myers on his ballot, but left off reliever Arthur Rhodes, who is 9-0.

Hargrove has the final decision on selecting reserves and pitchers, but he may take the other AL managers' thoughts into consideration when constructing the team.

"If I had done this now, [Rhodes] would be on [my ballot]," Johnson said.

Alomar braces for Toronto

Roberto Alomar is downplaying his return to Toronto today.

Alomar was one of the most popular Blue Jays and rose to superstar status during his five years in Toronto. But Alomar was heavily criticized last year for his play in the second half of the season after the Blue Jays decided to rebuild for the future by trading away veteran players.

Alomar also went through a traumatic experience last year at SkyDome, when a fan was found with a gun and photos of Alomar. She later was arrested and banned from the ballpark.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston has urged fans to receive Alomar warmly on his first trip back, but it is quite possible that he will face negative fan reaction in Canada.

"I'm just going to go play baseball," Alomar said. "I had some great years, some great moments, in Toronto. I hope [the fans] remember that."

Alomar returned to second base yesterday after being used as a designated hitter on Saturday to rest his hip pointer.

International signing day

The Orioles hope they can sign at least two high-profile amateur free agents tomorrow, Major League Baseball's international signing day.

That is the first day that teams can sign players from everywhere but the United States and Puerto Rico. American and Puerto Rican players must be taken in the June amateur draft.

Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone said the team has met with a couple of coveted players. Malone would not say which players for fear it would alert other clubs. However, the Orioles have had extensive discussions with 16-year-old Australian right-hander John Stephens.

"We've had discussions with both high-profile players we're interested in and we think we've got a shot at signing if not both, then at least one," Malone said.

Not crossing the line

The Orioles have decided to change hotels in Toronto because of a hotel workers strike at the Harbour Castle Westin, their usual headquarters.

Traveling secretary Phil Itzoe approached GM Pat Gillick with the news of the strike and Gillick discussed the matter with Joe Foss, vice chairman of business and finance.

"We just didn't want to be confronted by a strike situation," Itzoe said.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who refused to field a team of replacement players during the major-league baseball players strike, was not aware of the hotel switch.

"I was not aware of it, but I fully support the decision of the team," Angelos said.

Mercker getting itchy

Kent Mercker is eager to pitch.

Mercker, the left-hander the Orioles obtained from Atlanta during the off-season, has not pitched since being sent to the bullpen two weeks ago. Mercker has warmed up and been available, but Johnson has not put him in.

"I feel better about my shoulder than I did before," said Mercker, who is trying to regain his arm strength and increase his velocity. "I haven't lost confidence. I know if I go out with my good stuff I still have a chance to win. I'd rather give up six runs in two innings throwing hard than not throw hard. At least I'd know I'm recovered physically."

Around the horn

Jimmy Haynes has allowed one of seven inherited runners to score and has yielded one earned run in his past 9 2/3 innings, covering three appearances. . . . Jeffrey Hammonds went 1-for-5 in Rochester's doubleheader split yesterday, raising his Triple-A average to .158 (6-for-38). He's playing center field for the Red Wings. . . . Rochester starter Oscar Munoz is now expected to miss at least a month with an elbow injury.

Pub Date: 7/01/96

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