Exam uncorks nothing wrong with Bonilla's bat Rodriguez's bat OK, too

Orioles Notebook

Aruban 1st is Kingsale joy

September 05, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Bobby Bonilla is no Chris Sabo, he's no Albert Belle. His home runs come cork-free.

That's what the AL office announced yesterday, after X-rays showed that Bonilla's bat, confiscated at the request of Seattle manager Lou Piniella on Sunday night, contains no cork.

Alex Rodriguez's bat, which Orioles manager Davey Johnson asked to be checked in retaliation for Piniella's action, also proved to be cork-less.

Bonilla said: "I'll be happier once I get it back. . . . I just want it back. I'm still going to use it, once I get it back."

Bonilla denied his bat was corked when Piniella had it confiscated, and he said yesterday he's never used a corked bat and hasn't played with anyone who did use a corked bat.

"I grew up with a young team in Pittsburgh," said Bonilla, "and then we had another young team in New York."

He laughed, thinking of how the Mets struggled for runs. "I wish we knew some person who knew how to cork a bat," Bonilla said.

Aruban paradise

Eugene Kingsale became the first Aruba native to play in the majors Tuesday night, when Johnson inserted him into center field for defense in the bottom of the seventh inning.

After the game, Kingsale, 20, added to the 40-man roster yesterday to serve as a pinch runner this month, ducked his head into Johnson's office and thanked him. "Unbelievable," Kingsale said. "That was unbelievable. I was excited, a little bit nervous."

When Kingsale ran out to center field in the seventh, he kept yelling at left fielder Brent Bowers for guidance -- "HOW AM I DOING OUT HERE?"

Bowers said: "I kept saying, 'You're doing fine, you're doing good.' "

Kingsale, who had never been above Single-A ball, caught a fly ball in the eighth inning, and yelled at Bowers excitedly, "I'M IN THE BIG LEAGUES, AND I JUST CAUGHT A FLY BALL!"

A first impression

Bowers had an embarrassing situation to contend with in the ninth inning Tuesday. He lined a single over shortstop, and as he rounded the base and returned to first, umpire Dale Scott started calling for the ball. Scott thought it was Bowers' first big-league hit; in fact, it was his 12th hit.

Bowers, not sure exactly what to do, thanked him, and grinned at California first baseman J. T. Snow as he took his lead. "What are they doing?" Snow asked Bowers, in a low voice. Bowers replied: "I think he thinks that was my first big-league hit."

When Bowers rounded second, third base umpire Rocky Roe said, "Nice job, son."

Bowers quietly took the ball pulled aside for him and threw it into a ballbag in the dugout.

Alomar tiring?

Roberto Alomar hasn't run hard to first several times in the past few games, the most notable coming on Sunday -- he dropped a sacrifice bunt toward Mariners third baseman Dave Hollins, who threw low to first. Brian Hunter knocked the ball down and had to pick it up, and Alomar, running at less than full speed, was out by a half-step. Instead of having the bases loaded and nobody out in a 1-1 game, the Orioles had runners at second and third and one out. They went on to lose, 5-1.

Johnson said yesterday that Alomar's been suffering aftereffects from a cold, adding that he may be tiring in the sixth month of the season. "He's not as physically strong as the other guys."

Stephenson goes to Phils

The Orioles assigned right-hander Garrett Stephenson (Linganore, Boonsboro) to Philadelphia to complete the trade for Todd Zeile and Pete Incaviglia.

The Orioles originally intended to send right-hander Calvin Maduro and left-hander Don Florence to the Phillies, but Orioles general manager Pat Gillick and assistant GM Kevin Malone didn't know Florence had been released by Triple-A Rochester two days before.

Stephenson, 24, is younger and a harder thrower than Florence and thus has more value. Stephenson pitched briefly for the Orioles this year, allowing nine runs in 6 1/3 innings, all of his appearances coming against Cleveland.

He spent the rest of the season as a starter for the Red Wings, going 7-6 with three complete games and a 4.81 ERA. He was undefeated at home with a 3.25 ERA.

Last season, Stephenson led the Eastern League with 29 starts and was third with 139 strikeouts for the Double-A Bowie Baysox.

Doing a number

The Orioles have nine players on their 25-man roster with 20 or more home runs, and those nine had combined to hit 225 homers on the year going into last night's game. Those 225 homers had traveled a combined 86,683 feet, or 16.4 miles.

Around the horn

Going into last night: Brady Anderson had hit five homers in his last six games. . . . Rafael Palmeiro had one RBI in his last eight games. . . . Cal Ripken had one RBI in his last 13 games, and one strikeout in his last 12 games. . . . Alomar had two RBIs in his last 19 games. . . . Zeile went 3-for-4 Tuesday night, with two singles and a double, and went into last night's game with 10 hits in 19 at-bats as an Oriole.

Pub Date: 9/05/96

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