MILWAUKEE -- Though manager Davey Johnson is no longer hopeful of receiving help, the Orioles continue to push ahead in ++ their search for a hitter to plug into the middle of their lineup.
General manager Pat Gillick said yesterday that the club is considering other options to Montreal Expos first baseman David Segui, who appeared as a leading possibility before the teams reached an impasse Tuesday.
"We're still interested in getting another hitter. That hasn't changed," said Gillick. "We're talking to a number of teams to see what we might do."
Segui, Oakland A's right fielder Geronimo Berroa, San Diego Padres left fielder Rickey Henderson, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Darren Daulton and Chicago White Sox designated hitter Harold Baines still are possibilities.
However, the Orioles are prepared to expand their search to include the Toronto Blue Jays, who are on the verge of falling out of contention. First baseman/outfielder Joe Carter and right fielder Orlando Merced are possibilities.
Johnson was optimistic about getting help on Monday but yesterday seemed resigned to receiving no help.
"At this point I don't expect anything to happen," he said. "Things happen for a reason and we'll go on with who we've got."
Hammonds back in swing
Bothered for most of a week by an inconsistent swing, Jeffrey Hammonds yesterday rediscovered what had been working. His payoff was a pair of early home runs that propelled the Orioles to a 6-0 lead after three innings.
Hammonds believed he had begun steering the ball instead of swinging with force. "I was changing my swing," he said. "Today I told myself just to swing through and see what happens."
In the second inning he hooked a home run to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. The next inning he crushed a 410-foot shot that bumped the lead to 5-0.
For the last two weeks discussion has centered around a trade for a hitter, an acquisition that might affect his status as an everyday player. However, Hammonds' showing continued a recent string of wins with a diverse cast of contributors.
His two-run homer on Sunday was key to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Dave Dellucci hit his first major-league homer yesterday. On Tuesday night Pete Incaviglia scored the game's first run and homered. Last Saturday, Mike Bordick began a pair of late rallies with leadoff singles.
"Inky hadn't played in a bunch of days until [Tuesday] night and he contributed early," Hammonds said. "Today [Dave] Dellucci had a big hit. We're a confident squad. We're trying to make it easy on the next guy.
"We realize we're down a little bit but we're not panicking. We realize everyone has to do something each day to win. That's been proven over the last couple of weeks. We're not playing as good but we're not looking over our shoulder."
Davis speaks today
The Orioles have scheduled an afternoon news conference at Camden Yards today to be attended by outfielder Eric Davis. Since undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous 3 1/2 -inch mass from his colon, Davis has debated whether or not to seek chemotherapy as part of his aftercare.
Though doctors remain hopeful that he will accept the treatment, Davis continues to waffle, according to those familiar with his case. Davis visited doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday and was encouraged to undergo chemotherapy. Davis, who intends to return to his Northridge, Calif., home within the next several days, will have his aftercare transferred to an area hospital.
"What's important is for him to get healthy," Johnson said. "We want him to play but we also know what's most important."
Davis believes avoiding chemotherapy would allow him to rejoin the club by mid-August. Doctors have said that accepting chemotherapy would virtually eliminate any chance he has of playing this season.
Thinking of the rotation
With a strong four-inning effort Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers, Arthur Rhodes again resembled a potential starting pitcher. For the first time this season the left-handed middle reliever threw a changeup with confidence and precision while powering his way to five strikeouts. Yet talk of the one-time starter getting another shot at the rotation remains just that for now.
Rhodes has recovered from an injury-induced slump to put together a 4-2 record with a 2.57 ERA. Opponents are hitting .199 with 50 strikeouts in 42 innings.
"I feel like things have come together now that I'm healthy," Rhodes says. "I'm comfortable with my role right now. If sometime down the road Davey asks me to start, I'd be interested. But that's not in my thinking right now."
Rhodes struggled last month while contending with a sore left knee that affected his push from the mound. He often left pitches up and paid for it. However, since then he has been overpowering. Johnson especially likes Rhodes in his current role because he offers a left-handed follow-up to the Orioles' predominantly right-handed rotation.
"He's real important to us where he's at," Johnson said.