Weightlifting pays off for Incaviglia Upper-body strength is put to good use on offense for new team


September 02, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE -- About a month ago, Philadelphia Phillies manager Jim Fregosi told Pete Incaviglia he probably wouldn't play much the rest of the year. The Phillies were going with a youth movement, and Incaviglia, 32, isn't young anymore.

Figuring he had nothing better to do with his time, Incaviglia began his usual off-season regimen at the end of July. Lots and lots of weightlifting, the kind that builds muscle in his upper body, and some running.

And now Incaviglia is huge, as large as he would be at the start of spring training. "I wear a size 50 shirt," said catcher Mark Parent. "He must wear a 52."

Jeffrey Hammonds said, "The TV cameras don't do him justice."

Bill Ripken said, "I call him Brutus. I actually attempted to pick him in the first round of our football Rotisserie draft."

Incaviglia's strength was evident in his first two games with the Orioles: He hit a grand slam in a 5-2 win Friday, and his bases-empty homer off Jamie Moyer on Saturday gave the Orioles their first run in a 7-6 victory. Incaviglia added two hits, including an RBI single, and he wore a wide smile. "I really enjoy being here," he said. "This is really exciting."

Incaviglia came out in the last inning because of a leg cramp. He could have continued to play, he said, but he "didn't want to have some ball fall in there."

Incaviglia paused, and grinned again. "Let's face it," he said, "Devo [Mike Devereaux] runs just a little bit faster than I do."

Todd Zeile, who came over from the Phillies with Incaviglia, had three hits in his first two games, and even though he hadn't played third base since July 30, made several nice plays. He started a big double play in the fourth inning Saturday, when starter Scott Erickson probably was one hit or walk away from being relieved.

Moyer said, "The acquisition of those two guys is going to help the Orioles."

Confusion in field

Cal Ripken and Brady Anderson have played together nine years and they almost never get confused over who is responsible for catching a fly ball hit between them. But they did on Saturday.

Paul Sorrento hit a high pop into short center in the fourth inning, and Ripken ranged far into the outfield. But he stopped, and Anderson, coming in, hesitated, and Sorrento's ball fell between them. Ripken yelled aloud in anger and turned around and headed back toward the infield.

The two friends talked about the play later. "I was playing Sorrento over toward right-center and deep," said Anderson, "and I had a long way to come. Cal thought he heard someone call for it."

Anderson didn't. "It's tough to hear in the Kingdome," Anderson said. "Things like that happen."

But not often, when Anderson and Ripken are involved. Later in the game, Ken Griffey hit a high pop into short center, almost to the exact same spot, and this time Ripken continued his run for the ball and made the catch.

Murray in disguise

Last night was '70s Night at the Kingdome, and there were a lot of Afro wigs floating around. One player grabbed one, donned a jersey belonging to Eddie Murray and walked past Murray in the Orioles' clubhouse. Murray looked up and, seeing the caricature of himself from the '70s, he broke up laughing and offered a high-five to the player -- Griffey, who had sneaked over from the Seattle clubhouse.

Team of heavyweights

If the Orioles don't win the AL East, they could apply for entry into the World Wrestling Federation and take on all comers in a cage match.

Twenty-one of the 25 players on the roster weigh over 200 pounds: Parent (252), Rocky Coppinger (250), David Wells (240), Bobby Bonilla (240), Archie Corbin (235), Erickson (234), Incaviglia (listed at 225, probably more), Armando Benitez (230), Randy Myers (230), Terry Mathews (225), Eddie Murray (220), Cal Ripken (215), Chris Hoiles (213), Mike Milchin (210), Jesse Orosco (205), B. J. Surhoff (204), Devereaux (203), Rafael Palmeiro (203), Zeile (202) and Alan Mills (200).

Anderson was asked whether he weighs 200.

"Let's see," he said. "I just ate."

L He stepped onto a nearby scale. Two hundred pounds, exactly.

"Two hundred, he said, "in shorts and a T-shirt."

The only players who don't weigh 200 are Mike Mussina, Roberto Alomar, Bill Ripken and Manny Alexander.

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