Grounders finally find way to Alexander No chances in debut was first for O's this year


July 17, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

If Cal Ripken doesn't play shortstop, then the ball doesn't get hit there.

Manny Alexander did not make a play at short on Monday night, the first night of Ripken's move to third base. According to Bill Stetka, Orioles assistant director of public relations, that's the first time this season the Orioles played a game without a chance at short.

The last time the Orioles played a game like that was last Aug. 17 (121 games ago). Three times this year there have been games with only one chance at short; April 5 at Minnesota, May 7 at Chicago and June 18 against Texas at Camden Yards.

Alexander finally got his first chance in the third inning last night and fielded it cleanly.

Haynes: Too good to start?

Reliever Jimmy Haynes has pitched well enough to earn a few starts, though he's unlikely to get them any time soon.

Manager Davey Johnson said he's been impressed with Haynes, but the Orioles' dearth of right-handers in the bullpen precludes him from moving the 23-year-old into the rotation.

"I said even before [Haynes pitched Monday night] that I thought about moving him back in [the rotation], but I'm short-handed on the right side," Johnson said. "If I put Haynes in [the rotation], then I've got one guy out there named [Alan] Mills. We're just a little short because of the injury to [Roger] McDowell and also Armando [Benitez]."

Johnson said reliever Arthur Rhodes will not throw for at least five or six more days and he hopes the left-hander will not have to go on the disabled list.

He said if his bullpen was at full strength he probably would move Haynes back into the rotation in place of Rick Krivda. Krivda has struggled with a 7.35 ERA in his last four starts since replacing Haynes in the rotation. Haynes, meanwhile, is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA.

Pitching coach Pat Dobson said he's pleased with Haynes and he's still confident in Krivda, too. Dobson said Krivda's concentration often lapses and the pitcher gets too concerned about lasting seven innings each start, rather than focusing on each pitch.

"I talked to him about it [yesterday]," Dobson said. "If he could just stay away from that one bad pitch each outing he'd be all right. . . . Jimmy's pitched well. I don't know what we'd do without him in the bullpen right now."

Empathy from Fryman

Detroit Tigers third baseman Travis Fryman knows how Ripken feels.

Fryman came through the minor leagues as a shortstop, but has not played there since the 1993 All-Star Game, when he replaced Ripken at short. Fryman talked about Ripken's switch before the Tigers game yesterday.

"If you can play shortstop well, you can play anywhere on the field," Fryman said while looking at a picture of Ripken's diving play in the third inning on Monday. "I know Cal is a tremendous athlete and I know about all of this basketball stuff."

More time for Surhoff

B. J. Surhoff didn't play in the field again last night.

Johnson said he wants to give Surhoff some time to adjust to playing the outfield after Ripken took over for him at third base. Surhoff was the DH again last night so he could work on getting his arms and legs ready for the rigors of the outfield.

"B. J.'s probably going to play the outfield [today]," Johnson said. "I wanted to give him a couple of days stretching his arm out. It's an entirely different throw from the outfield and third base is more of a short-arm. I don't want him running out there and having a problem with his shoulder or something."

Huson happy to be here

Utility man Jeff Huson said he's happy that he remained with the Orioles through his injury rehab and return from the disabled list. Until McDowell went on the DL there was much speculation that Huson would not be back with the Orioles.

"I knew I wasn't going back to Triple-A, that was the whole thing," said Huson, who started at second base last night and went 2-for-3.

"I'm happy the way the situation worked out. I didn't think I'd be back. From all of the discussions we had, I thought I was either going to be traded or put on waivers."

Alomar stays put

Johnson said he will continue to rest Roberto Alomar for a few more days because he fears the second baseman's finger injury could aggravate to the point where he needs surgery. Johnson said he would continue to use Alomar as a left-handed pinch hitter if necessary.

Around the horn

Toronto's Alex Gonzalez stole two bases and has been successful in his last 10 attempts. . . . Brady Anderson was hit by a pitch for the 14th time, extending his career high. Anderson is 1-for-23 lifetime against Juan Guzman. . . . Rochester's Garrett Stephenson was named the International League's Pitcher of the Week, retiring 20 of the 22 batters he faced in the week ending July 14. . . . Brian Sackinsky will start for Rochester today. He's been on the DL since May 17 with inflammation in his pitching elbow.

Pub Date: 7/17/96

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