Newcomers bump Hoiles to ninth Zeile, Incaviglia admiringly look at batting order

Orioles Notebook

August 31, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE -- Bench coach Andy Etchebarren had the pleasure of writing out the lineup with the two newest Orioles included. Todd Zeile, batting sixth and playing third base, and Pete Incaviglia, hitting eighth and playing left field.

As a result, Chris Hoiles was bumped to ninth in the order. "That's pretty good, when you're No. 9 hitter is third on the team with 23 homers," Hoiles said before going 0-for-4 last night.

Orioles manager Davey Johnson said: "We don't have anybody who can hit singles. I doubt we have anyone who knows how to bunt.

"We'll probably drop the bunt, the hit-and-run and steal, and everybody will be wailin'. [Earl] Weaver's probably grinning someplace."

Hoiles said: "It's an impressive lineup."

Johnson traditionally has used his No. 9 spot for fast players such as Jeffrey Hammonds. Hoiles joked that he'd have to adjust. "First at-bat, I'm faking the bunt," he said, "to draw the infield in."

"I figure with me in the nine-hole, Robbie [Alomar] and Brady [Anderson] up at the top, we have three pretty good speed guys. I think that's what we've been looking for all year."

Zeile smiled when asked about being part of the Orioles' lineup, after playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, who have loaded down their lineup with youngsters. "I've never seen a lineup this good," he said admiringly.

Zeile walked 34 times in 113 games last year. But opponents have pitched around him this year; he had 67 walks in 134 games before going 2-for-4 last night. "It's a big difference," he said.

Incaviglia said: "I'm happy to be here, and I'm just going to try to contribute in any way I can. All I can do is try to fit in. They've got a lot of great players here, so I just want to do something when they call on me."

His game-winning grand slam last night was a start in that direction.

Roster chat room

The Orioles' staff held about a half-dozen closed-door meetings before last night's game. Johnson met with his coaches, general manager Pat Gillick and assistant GM Kevin Malone joined them, then Johnson met with Gillick and so on.

They made two roster moves to make room for Zeile and Incaviglia, optioning pitcher Jimmy Haynes and outfielder Brent Bowers to Double-A Bowie. It's really only a paper move, though. Both will remain with the team and be re-activated Tuesday, the day after the rosters expand.

Johnson, Gillick and Malone also discussed possible promotions for the last month. Afterward, Johnson said his plan is to have between 31 and 34 players for September. Bowers and Haynes will make 27, and the Orioles may have as many as four players back from the disabled list -- outfielders Hammonds, Mark Smith and Tony Tarasco and pitcher Arthur Rhodes (although Rhodes is extremely doubtful).

The Orioles will call up a third catcher, presumably Cesar Devarez or B. J. Waszgis, and a left-handed pitcher (Rick Krivda) and a right-hander (Esteban Yan).

The biggest surprise might be the promotion of Single-A outfielder Eugene Kingsale, a speedster who could fulfill Johnson's desire for a pinch runner (23 for 27 stolen bases before injuring his shoulder). The Orioles will have to add Kingsale to the 40-man roster this fall, anyway.

Germ of a farewell

Devarez was demoted to Triple-A Rochester earlier this week, but before he went down he left the Orioles something to remember him by -- a flu bug. Alomar has caught it.

Sniffling and holding his mouth open so he could breath yesterday, Alomar said he feels terrible. "I think they sent Cesar home a day too late," Alomar said. "[My] body aches. . . . Now it's all in my head. Runny nose and eyes."

Alomar looked perfectly healthy at the plate last night, however, hitting three doubles.

In this corner, weighing . . .

The addition of Incaviglia and Mark Parent makes the Orioles an unusually large team, along with Bobby Bonilla, Armando Benitez, Cal Ripken, B. J. Surhoff, Hoiles, Eddie Murray, Archie Corbin, Scott Erickson, Rocky Coppinger and David Wells.

"We'd be good in a fight," Johnson said. "I don't think anyone wants any part of us on that end."

Around the horn

Zeile is wearing No. 14, Incaviglia No. 55. But Incaviglia says he wants a new number when the Orioles return home. . . . Mike Mussina was watching a TV report on golfer Tiger Woods turning pro, which got him to thinking philosophically. "Golf," he said, "is the only professional sport you can play until you're dead."

Why was new Mariner Dave Hollins batting right-handed against right-hander Terry Mathews in the eighth inning Thursday? The switch-hitter can't bunt from the left side. Informed of this in a baseline meeting, third base coach John McLaren told him to swing away and he lined out.

Pub Date: 8/31/96

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