Johnson went looking for warning for Clemens But what manager got was his third ejection


September 24, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

TORONTO -- All that manager Davey Johnson wanted from home-plate umpire Chuck Meriwether last night was a warning, directed at the Toronto Blue Jays' Roger Clemens for two pitches thrown near the head of Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar. What he got instead was his third ejection this season after a brief but heated argument.

Johnson was tossed by Meriwether in the seventh inning after Alomar hit the dirt again as another fastball from Clemens came inside. Alomar, who leans over the plate, had spun away from a tight pitch near his shoulder in the second inning, then sprawled to the ground during the same at-bat to protect his head.

"[Meriwether] said, 'What am I supposed to do?' I said, 'Give him a warning. That's what you're supposed to do,' " Johnson said.

"We're not going to win this thing without Robbie. I'm going to take it highly personal if somebody throws at him or anybody else on this club. And this guy's got pinpoint control.

"Robbie's special, one of the best players in baseball. You're not going to be able to intimidate him. I think it just gets his adrenalin flowing more."

Clemens said the way he pitched Alomar had nothing to do with the infielder's bunt single in the first inning. "I pitch Robbie in all the time. I threw him one cross-seamer and one two-seamer. You saw what happened [second-inning RBI double] when I left it over the plate.

"Those guys are going on to bigger and better things. You never want to get near a guy's head."

Davis alters schedule

Outfielder Eric Davis has moved his chemotherapy treatments from Wednesdays to Fridays. And this week, he won't be leaving the Orioles to have the latest one done.

Davis will receive his treatment at 11 a.m. in Milwaukee, where the Orioles begin a three-game series that ends the regular season, and attempt to play during the weekend. This will be the ninth of 18 treatments for Davis over 22 weeks.

He altered his schedule, after checking with doctors, because of the days off that fall on Fridays during the postseason.

Davis was out of the lineup again last night, the second consecutive game he's missed since starting two straight against Detroit. Davis informed bench coach Andy Etchebarren yesterday that he was feeling a little tired.

Johnson said Davis probably would play tonight.

No start for Hammonds

Johnson wanted to give Jeffrey Hammonds a start in right field, but decided against it and inserted Geronimo Berroa into the lineup as the Orioles were about to take batting practice.

Johnson said he wasn't sure if Hammonds, bothered most of the second half of the season by a strained left Achilles' tendon, could go two consecutive days on artificial turf. That's the kind of surface awaiting the Orioles at the Kingdome in Seattle if they win the AL East and head west for the first two games of the divisional series.

Hammonds appeared as a defensive replacement last night in the eighth inning.

Myers gets work

Randy Myers went into last night's game looking for his fourth save opportunity since Aug. 23. He found it in the ninth inning, coming in to protect a 3-2 lead. Three batters later, he ran his streak of conversions to 33 in a row, the third-longest in major-league history behind former Oriole Jose Mesa (38 in 1995) and Dennis Eckersley (36 in 1992).

"I figure we'll be getting into some save situations the last week of the season," said Myers, who hadn't pitched since Thursday against Milwaukee.

"It's been harder for me, in the past, not working. I prepare myself to pitch every day for seven months. The flip side is you get work and, boom, I'm out there six days in a row after that. It's kind of a Catch-22. But going on the road, in a close game you're always up in case you go ahead. I think for anyone, being non-active is tougher than being active. But because I've been doing this for a long time, it's not as hard on me."

Motivation for Tigers

Johnson sensed some extra motivation from Detroit, which was able to reach .500 this week by taking three of four games from the Orioles at Camden Yards. The Tigers, losers of 109 games last year, were at "a playoff pitch," Johnson said.

"And we weren't."

Asked if it was important that his club get there this week, Johnson said, "Yes, I do."

Around the horn

Toronto second baseman Carlos Garcia was a late scratch because of a strained right calf muscle. Alex Gonzalez moved from shortstop to second, and Tomas Perez started at short. Chris Hoiles, on the Orioles' struggles going into last night: "My thinking is just get it out of the way now. But we've got to stop the bleeding soon. And right now, we're definitely bleeding."

Hits and misses

On the field: After twice almost being hit by pitches from Roger Clemens in the second inning, including one near his head that sent him sprawling to the dirt, Roberto Alomar pulled a double to the fence in right field, scoring Mike Bordick for a 3-0 lead.

In the dugout: Though Nerio Rodriguez took a one-hit shutout into the sixth, manager Davey Johnson had left-hander Arthur Rhodes warming in the bullpen. Rodriguez walked No. 9 hitter Tomas Perez and gave up a triple to Shannon Stewart, prompting a visit from pitching coach Ray Miller. When Alex Gonzalez lined out to left fielder B. J. Surhoff, bringing home the Blue Jays' second run, Johnson signaled for Rhodes.

In the clubhouse: Johnson held a team meeting before the game that lasted about five minutes. "The only reason it was so short was Brady's phone started ringing."

Pub Date: 9/24/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.