Orioles manager Davey Johnson remains bullish on rookie Mike Johnson, saying that though "the easy thing to do would be to go with [Shawn] Boskie" as the fifth starter, he is confident that a regular routine between starts will improve the right-hander's performance tomorrow night against the Cleveland Indians.
Johnson surrendered three runs to the Indians in Sunday's no-decision. Pitching coach Ray Miller barely stopped short of guaranteeing a Johnson win tomorrow against Cleveland and ace Charles Nagy.
The Orioles still wish to augment their rotation, either with Triple-A left-hander Rick Krivda or someone from outside the organization.
But timing makes a trade difficult, and Krivda continues to force the issue with consecutive shutouts at Rochester.
"I wouldn't be against one of those young guys pitching here. We're still in the first half of the year," Davey Johnson said. "Again, if you can go get an established arm, then go get 'em. Every manager would say that if they could go get an [Hideki] Irabu or a [Curt] Schilling."
Hitching a ride
When the Orioles' charter arrived at the Detroit airport around 3 a.m. yesterday, the team bus was nowhere to be found.
Instead of waiting impatiently or dropping off for a nap as Davey Johnson did, several enterprising players hitched a ride with the team's equipment in the back of a U-Haul van.
After all bats, helmets and uniforms were loaded, first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, outfielder Tony Tarasco, pitchers Randy Myers and Mike Mussina, hitting coach Rick Down, shortstop Mike Bordick and third base coach Sam Perlozzo rode down a conveyor and into the van.
The ride was standing-room only.
The entourage was buffeted around the van as it rumbled toward the team hotel, but the riders were rewarded by reaching their rooms an hour before the rest of the club.
"You can't expect normal because this is the big leagues," said Mussina, who estimated that the move gained him 2 1/2 hours of sleep.
The Iron Man lives
Cal Ripken arrived at Tiger Stadium yesterday barely showing the ill effects from Tuesday's rough outing at Yankee Stadium.
Ripken was hit by a Kenny Rogers fastball and took a hard spill into the photographers' pit chasing a foul ball. The spill caused Ripken to take four stitches in his right shin and necessitated a tetanus shot in Detroit. Rogers' pitch left a bruise.
"It hurts more from the pitch," said Ripken, who still hasn't watched a replay of his self-described "Super Dave Osborne" tumble, in which he landed on a shoulder with his feet pointing skyward.
Around the horn
Brady Anderson played his 1,100th game as an Oriole last night. Ripken moved into 50th place on the all-time games played list. Last night was No. 2,430. Ripken's second-inning double tied Brooks Robinson's franchise record for total bases at 4,270. The Orioles' Jimmy Key has pitched at least six innings in eight of his 11 starts. The Orioles were 11-2 against Detroit last year, their best season ever against the Tigers. Ripken's average has dropped from .326 to .284 over a 17-game span. Tigers first baseman Tony Clark was a late scratch, replaced by Phil Nevin. Clark, the Tigers' best hitter, is day-to-day after getting hit in the face during a pre-game soft toss, the ball ricocheting off the screen and catching him in the nose. X-rays were negative.