PHILADELPHIA -- Will Roberto Alomar play?
That was one of the most-asked questions during yesterday's All-Star workout. The Orioles second baseman sprained his left ring finger diving headfirst into first base Saturday. After sitting out Sunday night, Alomar released a statement saying he would arrive in Philadelphia last night and would attempt to play in tonight's game.
Orioles manager Davey Johnson said he expects Alomar to miss this week's four-game series with first-place New York. The injury is on Alomar's fielding hand and could easily be aggravated.
On Sunday night Alomar spoke with his brother, Cleveland All-Star catcher Sandy Alomar.
"He told me he's going to try to play," Sandy Alomar said. "I know he really wants to play in an All-Star Game with Cal Ripken. I think Robbie's going to be a perennial All-Star. He can play in the game next year. Your team has to come first and it's probably better if he doesn't play. He's a very aggressive player. He's going to get injured."
American League manager Mike Hargrove said he planned to talk to Alomar, whom he tentatively had penciled into the No. 3 spot.
"The last we heard from Robbie Alomar was that he was going to play," Hargrove said. "Hopefully, I can find him and talk to him."
Hargrove said that Minnesota's Chuck Knoblauch would start if Alomar cannot play.
Anderson to start in right
Brady Anderson will be starting tonight's game, replacing Ken Griffey in the lineup.
Anderson will not be in his regular center-field spot, nor will he be in his usual spot in the top part of the order. Anderson will start in right field and bat eighth.
"Just the fact that [Hargrove] put me in the starting lineup is an honor," Anderson said. "It doesn't matter to me where I'm at."
Vet is special to Ripken
Ripken, who will be making his 13th straight All-Star start, said being in Philadelphia brings back special memories.
The Orioles clinched the 1983 World Series by winning three straight games at Veterans Stadium. Ripken was just 23 at the time but he has not been back to the World Series since.
"I caught the last out of the World Series here," Ripken said. "We had a major celebration in the clubhouse here. I always associate this place with the ending of a very great season. The thing that you remember is the place where you won it. So I think of Philadelphia."
Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas missed the home run contest with a sore left foot he injured while rounding first base Thursday. Thomas said he is not sure if he will be able to play tonight, but Hargrove has penciled him into the cleanup spot.
"I'm in a tremendous amount of pain, and it's getting worse," Thomas said. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do."
Thomas has the majors' second-longest consecutive-games streak, behind Ripken. He has played in 346 straight games, or 1,893 fewer than Ripken.
Hargrove defends choices
Hargrove said he has no regrets about leaving Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro or any other worthy All-Star candidates off the team.
"The people I picked are having great seasons," Hargrove said. "You do your best and realize that you're going to have to leave some people off. . . . I can't apologize. I don't want to apologize."
Bonds tops nerves, McGwire
All San Francisco's Barry Bonds wanted to do was hit at least one ball out in the home run contest.
He ended up defeating Oakland's Mark McGwire for the title. Bonds said his nerves were getting the best of him at home plate.
"I was thinking about how to stop my knees from shaking," Bonds said. "It's a real nervous situation."
Bonds said the fear of looking bad hampered his performance in past contests. So, it was extra special for him to out-slug a masher like McGwire in the finals.
"You just don't beat Mark McGwire in a home run contest," Bonds said. "I thought it was the highlight of my career getting ahead of him in the second round. I wanted to quit right then."
Pettitte awaits O's
New York's Andy Pettitte said he's perfectly happy with the distance the Yankees have put between themselves and the Orioles in the standings.
The Orioles trail by six games at the break. The teams got acquainted recently, splitting a four-game series in the Bronx. They play a four-game series at Camden Yards starting Thursday.
"I think we match up real good with them," Pettitte said. "We're really not worried that much about the next series with them. We're looking to go in there and try to split again. That's what we want to do on the road, because we've been unbelievable at home."
Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver will be the AL's honorary captain tonight.
Weaver, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August, is hoping Hargrove will let him manage an inning or two. Just enough time to let him work his old magic with the umpires.
"The three AL umpires are very good friends of mine," Weaver joked. "Especially Joe Brinkman. If I even look cross-eyed at Joe Brinkman I might get thrown out of here."
AL president Gene Budig agreed.