Punishment over, Alomar ready to go Second baseman will keep low profile on road trips

April 07, 1997|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The wait for Roberto Alomar finally ends today when the All-Star second baseman returns from a five-game suspension levied for last September's spitting incident involving AL umpire John Hirschbeck.

Alomar was to join the club last night in Kansas City and, according to manager Davey Johnson, should be in this afternoon's lineup against the Royals, probably as the No. 2 hitter. Since spending Opening Day with the Orioles, Alomar has been in Sarasota, Fla., shedding rust caused by a off-season ankle injury.

Alomar's return will necessitate an adjustment period with new shortstop Mike Bordick, who has been paired with Jeff Reboulet in all five games. Bordick and Alomar appeared together in only three exhibitions before the second baseman was injured. Bordick has since quizzed his predecessor at shortstop, Cal Ripken, about Alomar's tendencies.

"You just have to be ready for feeds coming at you in different ways because he's not the traditional kind of second baseman who comes at you the same way every time," said Bordick. "If he feels he can get you the ball quicker in a different way, he will."

The club has taken precautions to protect Alomar, who has been subjected to fan abuse ever since the Sept. 23 incident in Toronto. He will not be registered at hotels under his own name.

The schedule should help Alomar maintain a shred of normalcy, at least in the short term. The three-game series in Kansas City won't produce the same kind of media swarm typical of an AL East rival. The Orioles then return for a five-game homestand beginning Friday.

Pub Date: 4/07/97

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