Time off is unmasked joy for Hoiles Catcher happy to see Erickson-Parent bond

Sidelight

September 10, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Chris Hoiles wasn't sure what to do with himself yesterday afternoon.

Hoiles couldn't remember the last time he was not behind the plate for consecutive games, but yesterday afternoon he sat in shorts and a T-shirt in front of his Orioles locker and pondered what he'd do to pass the time.

Watch the action from the dugout. Maybe catch some of the "Monday Night Football" game on the clubhouse TV to see how the players on his fantasy football team were doing.

One thing Hoiles certainly wasn't doing was complaining.

"I don't know what to do with two straight days off," Hoiles said. "But it definitely helps. It's great. Robbie [Alomar] rested the other day and Billy [Ripken] did a great job. We need that out of our backups. It's getting late in the season and we need everybody healthy and ready to play."

The unexpected break was meant as no slight to Hoiles.

Manager Davey Johnson said he doesn't want his starting catcher to tire out. Johnson also is hoping that newly acquired catcher Mark "Bernie" Parent can further his rapport with the Orioles' pitching staff, starting with Scott Erickson, last night's starter.

"Out in California [in a 4-2 win Sept. 4], Erickson and Parent had a little something going and he kind of wanted to throw to him again," Johnson said. "He wanted to throw to Bernie again, and I accommodated him. To me, you know, this is a special exception. I mean [Hoiles], I don't know how many games he's caught, but he's certainly caught a lot this year.

"He's caught hurt. A lot of times I've let him catch a day after a night. If Bernie gets an extra game here or there, we've got a lot of games to go, so it can't hurt [Hoiles]. If anything it will help him."

Hoiles was behind the plate for 13 of 14 games before Parent arrived Aug. 27. But his bat has responded favorably to the heavy load. Hoiles was hitting .321 with 12 homers, five doubles, 36 RBIs and 26 runs scored in his last 40 games, before hitting for Parent in the sixth inning last night and hitting a sacrifice fly to drive in what proved to be the game-winning run.

Hoiles said he hopes Erickson and Parent can develop a bond like he has with ace Mike Mussina. The Orioles are 5-0 in games Parent has started, with a 2.92 ERA. Erickson allowed just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings the first time he worked with Parent and three earned runs in six innings before Parent's departure last night.

"It doesn't matter to me if I don't catch Scottie, as long as we're winning," Hoiles said. "It would be great if they could build a chemistry like me and Moose. If it helps us win, I'm all for it.

"In September, catching every day gets to be a grind. A guy like Bernie takes a lot of pressure off me. He can hit, he's a good catcher and he calls a great game."

Pub Date: 9/10/96

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