Kingsale begins an unlikely quest Stunned call-up could be 1st Aruban to play in majors

Orioles Notebook

September 03, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Orioles prospect Eugene Kingsale and Calvin Maduro -- a former Orioles prospect, traded to Philadelphia last week -- will begin a race today to become the first native of Aruba to play in the majors, and their fates are intertwined.

Kingsale, 20, was at home in Aruba last week when Orioles general manager Pat Gillick called him with the stunning news that he is going to be activated for September, strictly to be used as a pinch runner.

Kingsale, who has never played above Single-A ball, has been sidelined since the end of May when he separated his left (non-throwing) shoulder. But because of his athleticism, the Orioles planned to place him on their 40-man roster in November, anyway; the Orioles figured they may as well add him now and take advantage of his speed, if the need arises.

Kingsale, however, won't actually be added to the 40-man roster until today, and he will take Maduro's spot on the 40-man roster, assuming that Maduro clears waivers and is traded to the Phillies. Maduro is expected to join Philadelphia today, meaning that he and Kingsale will have an equal chance of being the first Aruban-born person to play in the majors.

Kingsale, who runs the 60-yard dash in 6.4 seconds, was shocked when Gillick called last week. "I wasn't doing anything," he said. "I was chilling at home."

His parents, he said yesterday, didn't believe him until Gillick talked to his father directly.

Yesterday morning, assistant general manager Kevin Malone kidded Kingsale if a parade was held in his honor as he departed Aruba for the big leagues. "No," Kingsale replied, absolutely serious, "just a small ceremony."

The Orioles likely will activate pitcher Jimmy Haynes and outfielder Brent Bowers tomorrow. More call-ups will come later, as the need arises, or after Triple-A Rochester is finished in the playoffs. Left-hander Rick Krivda, catcher Cesar Devarez and right-handers Esteban Yan and Nerio Rodriguez will be called up later, as well as Tony Tarasco, Mark Smith and Jeffrey Hammonds, who must be activated off the disabled list.

The Orioles should find out within the next week if left-hander Arthur Rhodes' bad shoulder has improved enough for him to start throwing, and possibly rejoin the team later this month.

Put a cork in it

Orioles manager Davey Johnson says he has no doubt that AL officials will find nothing in Bobby Bonilla's bat when they examine it this week. Bonilla's bat was confiscated during Sunday's game, at the request of Seattle manager Lou Piniella, who said later he thought the ball sounded strange as it came off Bonilla's bat.

Bonilla reiterated a standing offer yesterday: "They can check all of my bats if they want, but they aren't going to find anything, because there isn't anything to find."

Johnson said he believes Piniella asked for Bonilla's bat in an effort to disturb a hot hitter -- Bonilla had four homers in the four-game series -- and he responded in kind by asking the

umpires to check Alex Rodriguez's bat (Rodriguez got another bat and hit a three-run homer).

"Lou was not in a good mood," said Johnson, "because he lost two games in a row and should've lost three. He was just trying to be ornery, as Lou can be. I thought it was all rather humorous, rather than distasteful."

Dedrick mystery player?

According to one source, minor-league right-hander Jim Dedrick may be the player who joins Maduro in the deal with the Phillies. The Orioles originally traded Maduro and left-hander Don Florence in the deal for Todd Zeile and Pete Incaviglia, according to league sources, without realizing that Triple-A Rochester had released Florence two days earlier.

Around the horn

The Orioles pitchers will start taking batting practice if it appears the team is headed for the playoffs, because they would have to bat in the World Series. "We'll probably wait and see where we are the last week of the season," pitching coach Pat Dobson said. "If we're going to be in the playoffs, we'll start doing it then." . . . The way the Orioles' rotation is lined up, Scott Erickson, David Wells and Mike Mussina will start in the crucial three-game series in New York Sept. 17-19. . . . The Angels will recall pitchers Jim Abbott and Jeff Schmidt and outfielder Darin Erstad from Triple-A Vancouver today. Abbott was 1-15 with a 7.79 ERA before being demoted Aug. 13. . . . According to a league source, the Orioles in August claimed California right-hander Shawn Boskie, 3-0 against the Orioles before last night, to prevent any other team from making a deal for him. It also may be a signal that the Orioles have a long-term interest in Boskie, who is a free agent after this season.

Pub Date: 9/03/96

Hits and misses

On the field: Hits are hard to come by, even when you've got more than 3,000. Bobby Bonilla was on first base with one out in the second inning when Eddie Murray hit a looping liner toward second. Randy Velarde leaped, but couldn't reach the ball, and Murray presumably had career hit No. 3,200. However, Bonilla, thinking Velarde would catch the ball, had moved toward first, and, because of his late break, he was forced out at second, nullifying Murray's hit.

In the dugout: Hitters from both teams griped about the strike zone of Rocky Roe last night, and Brady Anderson was so angry about a called strike in his first at-bat that manager Davey Johnson came out a couple of steps, ready to intercede.

In the clubhouse: "Over here it's a little bit different -- there are no weak lineups. Over there, you can figure you have nine outs, for sure [with the bottom third of the order]. Seven out of 10 times up the pitcher is going to bunt." -- Bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, on the NL vs. the AL.

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