Down expected to be contender for Toronto job Hitting coach hopes success with O's will be benefit

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

September 27, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

MILWAUKEE -- The exposure that comes from being associated with winning organizations continues to move hitting coach Rick Down closer to a managerial job. After losing out to Terry Collins last year for the Anaheim position, Down is regarded as one of the leading contenders to succeed Cito Gaston in Toronto.

Down said yesterday that he expects the Blue Jays to go through the formal procedure of contacting him after the Orioles have completed their postseason run. "I hope so. I'm led to believe that, and would think so," he said.

"I'm fortunate to be with an organization like Baltimore. We've won our division, and last year we were in the playoffs. And I was lucky enough the season prior to that to be in the playoffs with the Yankees. When you've been winning and been in the playoffs, and you're a general manager looking for a manager, I'd think the first place you'd go is an organization that's been successful and try to get some people out of there."

It was this kind of thinking that led Down to join Davey Johnson's staff, rather than follow former Yankees manager Buck Showalter to the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks, who begin play next season.

"Baltimore is a tremendous proving ground and a learning experience," he said. "For me, being an expansion coach, or being in the minor leagues for two seasons, would have been like the Arizona Outbacks. I would have been on the North-40. I would have been forgotten, out of sight and out of mind."

Down, who won two straight Governors' Cup titles while managing the Yankees' Triple-A team in Columbus, also interviewed for the Boston job last year that went to Jimy Williams.

"Anytime you go through something a second or third time, you're going to learn something from it," he said. "But the bottom line is you've still got to be yourself."

Alomar may skip Game 1

Even though Roberto Alomar is hitting .485 (32-for-66) over his past 18 games, it doesn't appear that he'll be in the starting lineup against the Mariners and Randy Johnson in Game 1 of the Division Series because he's still hitting left-handed against all pitching to compensate for a strained shoulder.

"I wish he could hit right-handed, but I know that's probably not going to happen," said Johnson, who also is leaning toward not starting Rafael Palmeiro against the Big Unit. "I don't want to put him up there facing somebody like Randy, have him leaning over the plate and get hurt."

Alomar would start the next two games against left-handers Jamie Moyer and Jeff Fassero.

Boskie has surgery

Reliever Shawn Boskie had a bone chip removed from his right elbow yesterday in Los Angeles. The arthroscopic procedure was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Boskie is expected to be ready for spring training.

He went on the disabled list Aug. 16 with elbow tendinitis, and continued to have swelling after he resumed pitching Sept. 1.

Around the horn

Outfielder Eric Davis took his chemotherapy treatment in Milwaukee yesterday and will rejoin the club for tonight's game against the Brewers. Johnson is hopeful that Davis can play both games this weekend. As for how much playing time he'll get in the Division Series, when Seattle starts three left-handers, Johnson said, "We're in uncharted waters. I have no idea. It depends on how he feels." Closer Randy Myers was named yesterday as the 1997 Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole, voted upon by the Baltimore chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Myers entered last night with 44 saves in 45 chances, breaking Gregg Olson's club record of 37 set in 1990. He has converted 33 straight since his only blown save May 3 against Oakland, the third-longest streak in major-league history behind Cleveland's Jose Mesa (38 in 1995) and Oakland's Dennis Eckersley (36 in 1992). Cal Ripken had an early night, playing just three innings while appearing in his 2,476th consecutive game. Ripken was 0-for-2 before being replaced by Jeff Reboulet at third base to start the fourth. It was Ripken's quickest exit without an ejection this season. Tony Tarasco's eighth-inning double was his first hit since Aug. 2. He had been hitless in his past 23 at-bats.

Hits and misses

On the field: When left-handed hitting Jeromy Burnitz homered off Rick Krivda in the third inning, it marked the second time he had connected against a left-hander this season. The other was Jimmy Key.

In the dugout: Manager Davey Johnson continued to give rTC Jerome Walton a healthy amount of at-bats as the postseason nears. Walton started in right field against right-hander Pete Harnisch. Two nights before, he started at first.

In the clubhouse: "I've said it early and I've said it late. We can't win this thing without him." -- Johnson on Roberto Alomar.

Pub Date: 9/27/97

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