Angels will interview Down for manager job Leyland is believed to be first choice for post

Orioles Notebook

September 24, 1996|By Buster Olney and Jason LaCanfora | Buster Olney and Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

The California Angels have asked the Orioles for permission to talk to hitting coach Rick Down about their managerial opening after the season.

The Angels want to lure Pirates manager Jim Leyland, but if they can't get Leyland -- who is also a target of the Florida Marlins -- then Down likely will be among the leading candidates, along with Philadelphia manager Jim Fregosi.

"I'm sure my chances have a lot to do with Leyland," said Down, 48. "I don't feel slighted by that. Everybody is a Rick Who? or Jim Who? until you get an opportunity to prove yourself.

"I definitely want to manage, and that's an ideal opportunity there; they've got an interim manager [John McNamara], and you wouldn't be taking somebody's job. If you got hired, you'd get to hire your own staff."

Down doesn't expect to be interviewed until after the Orioles have completed their season. "They'll get the best Rick Down in that interview, that's for sure," he said.

Orioles manager Davey Johnson said, "He would be very good. If you can go into New York, with the egos they have to have to be there, and build a relationship with that ballclub, you can only do that by gaining their respect, by being there and by being right. He knows when to be tough, and when to be amiable."

Rotation tentatively set

The Orioles' starting rotation tentatively is set for the remainder of the season.

David Wells and Rocky Coppinger will pitch in Boston and Scott Erickson will make his scheduled start Thursday in Toronto.

Rick Krivda will be skipped in the rotation, and Mike Mussina is penciled in for Friday, on three days' rest. Wells would start Saturday and the Orioles could bring Erickson back on Sunday on just two days' rest if their playoff status is still in limbo.

Coppinger and Krivda are the other candidates to start the last regular-season game of the season if it is less meaningful.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston has made another move that BTC could work against the Orioles, changing his rotation so Cy Young Award candidate Pat Hentgen will start tonight on three days' rest against Detroit -- and then Sunday, on a full four days' rest, in the final game of the season against the Orioles.

"It was Cito's decision, 100 percent," said Hentgen. "It makes sense. Hey, with 18 wins, getting two more starts is attractive to me."

Orosco tightens up

Reliever Jesse Orosco's heavy workload finally caught up to him.

Orosco, who had pitched the last three days, left the game in the ninth inning last night when his arm got stiff. Orosco, 39, said it's not unusual for him to stiffen up this time of the year with so many innings pitched in his career.

"I'm fine. I'll be ready for [today]," Orosco said. "We still have a whole week and I want to finish strong. It happens a couple of times a season when my arm gets a little stiff and I have to come out."

Palmeiro most valuable

The Orioles announced yesterday that Rafael Palmeiro was voted the winner of the 1996 Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole award.

The Orioles made the announcement during Palmeiro's at-bat in the third inning. He struck out.

"Its an honor to win that award," Palmeiro said. "There's so many guys who deserve it. That being said, that just doesn't seem appropriate when you're coming to an at-bat there. I'd prefer them to wait until before the game or after the game."

Palmeiro has 38 homers and 140 RBIs this year. He is one RBI short of Jim Gentile's Orioles record set in 1961.

The award is voted on by the media who cover the Orioles on a regular basis. Palmeiro is the first player to win the award in consecutive seasons since Cal Ripken was honored in 1990 and 1991.

Lucky jerseys no more

The Orioles wore their black home jerseys for the third straight game yesterday and finally lost.

The Orioles won Saturday and Sunday with their black jerseys and they also won the first time they wore them June 22, when Mark Smith hit a game-winning homer off closer Jeff Montgomery to beat the Kansas City Royals .

Playoff tickets on sale

Approximately 10,000 divisional playoff tickets (5,000 for each game) go on sale this morning exclusively through TicketMaster Phone Charge.

Games 1 and 2 would be at Camden Yards next Tuesday and Wednesday. In Baltimore, call (410) 481-SEAT. Fans in Washington, D.C. can call (202) 432-SEAT, and in northern Virginia, call (703) 573-SEAT.

Tickets cost $25 and $15, with a $3 service charge added on per ticket. Tickets ordered by phone must be picked up at Camden Yards at least two days before the scheduled games.

Around the horn

Smith said his bruised leg is progressing nicely and he hopes to play winter baseball in Puerto Rico. The Orioles re-shot their team picture yesterday because so many players were added to the roster since they took their original team photo. Every player on the team was told to wear a black long-sleeve shirt under his jersey for the picture. Reliever Randy Myers, who wore the wrong hat on the field Saturday night, was the only player not wearing long sleeves. The Orioles' game with the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday was changed to a 1: 05 p.m. start and will be televised on Fox. It originally was scheduled for a 4: 05 start. The Orioles yesterday fired Triple-A pitching coach Ross Grimsley.

Pub Date: 9/24/96

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