Myers is surprised to replace Mills for last out Mussina opts to start Monday on 3 days' rest

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

September 22, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Closer Randy Myers questioned manager Davey Johnson's decision to replace him with Alan Mills in New York earlier this week, but last night, when Myers replaced Mills in the ninth inning, Myers said he was surprised that Mills was pulled from the game.

"Alan did a good job," Myers said after recording the last out for his 31st save. "I'd have liked to see him finish the game. I thought he'd finish the game."

Myers was booed when he entered the game with the Orioles one out from victory. He told reporters after being replaced with Mills in New York that he didn't believe a team could win with multiple closers.

Myers said he didn't notice the crowd reaction.

"I didn't hear the crowd," Myers said. "I was concentrating on going out there and trying to figure out how I was going to pitch Juan [Samuel]. That's what I was worried about."

Johnson said he certainly noticed the boo-birds and said it was the first time he's been booed by the Baltimore crowd.

"The Camden Yards crowd really was starting to get like New York when I took Millsy out," Johnson said. "I thought I was back in the Big Apple."

Johnson said he was concerned about Mills' slightly strained groin muscle, but thought he threw the ball fine.

Mills, who said his groin did not bother him, declined to comment on the crowd reaction.

"It's not my job to say who should pitch," Mills said. "That's the manager's decision."

Mussina to start tomorrow

Mike Mussina will start tomorrow against the Milwaukee Brewers instead of Tuesday at Boston, as was originally scheduled.

Mussina's arm has been fatigued lately, but last night he said he was feeling better after throwing on the side. He last pitched Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader in New York and was ineffective, giving up three runs and five walks in two innings.

Johnson and pitching coach Pat Dobson are concerned with Mussina's arm strength down the stretch, so they said they would let him decide when to pitch.

Mussina said Johnson and Dobson asked if he could pitch tomorrow, on three days' rest.

"They asked me if I could pitch and I said OK," Mussina said. "It was as simple as that."

Dobson said the Orioles weren't as worried about Mussina not being on four days' rest because of his low pitch count last week. "Really, he only threw 70 pitches in a period from [Sept.] 12th to the 19th," Dobson said. "So we asked him what he wanted to do."

The move also could have postseason ramifications, if the Orioles qualify. By pitching tomorrow, Mussina would pitch again Saturday and then Oct. 2 at the earliest, in the second game of a playoff series.

Don't bunt, Robbie

Roberto Alomar, who leads the Orioles with a .330 average, said he has been bunting a lot lately, especially early in games, to give the Orioles a chance to jump on teams early. But Johnson would like to see the All-Star swing away more frequently.

"I like him driving those runs in or changing places with a guy," Johnson said. "But he knows what he can do or what he feels comfortable doing. He's one heck of a player and me trying to say, 'Well, I just don't want you bunting,' I'm not going to do that to him. But I have told him my preference is that he doesn't give himself up."

Said Alomar: "When you put one run on the board, the other team has to score two. You can get on top of a team right away. You can put pressure on their offense."

With last night's 0-for-3, Alomar is hitting .194 in September.

Triple-A in Bowie?

The Orioles could be doing some minor-league shifting in the not too distant future.

Director of player development Syd Thrift said that if Bowie gets a Triple-A franchise in 1998, the Orioles would strongly consider putting a team there. Bowie, which is the Orioles' Double-A affiliate, is one of the cities being considered for Triple-A expansion.

"We'd have no objection [to putting a Triple-A team there]," said Thrift, who added that breaking the club's longtime ties with Rochester would be emotionally difficult. "It's really not our call. It's up to the expansion committee and Peter Kirk [chairman of Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership Inc.]. Bowie is probably a prime location because of their attendance and their stadium."

Thrift said if the Orioles put their Triple-A team in Bowie, they would consider a Double-A team in York, Pa. That would give the Orioles nearly all of their minor-league teams within a short drive.

Winter pitching plans

Several of the Orioles top pitching prospects are either already playing in the instructional league or will be playing winter ball.

Chris Fussell, who has a small tear in an elbow ligament, will pitch in Hawaii this winter. Alvie Shepherd, the Orioles' No. 1 pick in 1995, who struggled at Frederick, will pitch in Australia.

Jimmy Haynes is scheduled to report to the instructional league tonight and will play in the Arizona Fall League in October. Brian Sackinsky and Sidney Ponson, two other pitching prospects, are already in the instructional league.

Around the horn

The Orioles have discussed activating disabled outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, who has not played since Aug. 15. Before last night, Jays reliever Scott Brow had retired the last nine batters.

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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