Davis' chemo moved ahead O's outfielder treated after game to increase his down time before Game 3

ALCS notebook

October 10, 1997|By Roch Kubatko, Joe Strauss and Arthur Hirsch | Roch Kubatko, Joe Strauss and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF

Hours before game time, outfielder Eric Davis' weekly chemotherapy appointment was moved up from today to immediately after Game 2 of the American League Championship Series last night.

Orioles spokesman John Maroon said the team, Davis and the doctor supervising the treatment agreed to the schedule change "so hopefully [Davis] can go with us to Cleveland" this morning. Davis "can spend the day resting" in Cleveland once the team arrives early this afternoon, Maroon said.

"We're just trying to make things fit," manager Davey Johnson said of Davis, who started in right field last night, played the whole game and singled in five at-bats. "It's a 4: 07 [start] on Saturday, so we'll have to see how he feels."

Johnson wants Davis available for Game 3 because he likes the matchup with Indians pitcher Orel Hershiser, as opposed to Game 4 starter Jaret Wright. And he prefers the stronger defensive skills of Davis or Jeffrey Hammonds in the spacious right field of Jacobs Field.

Davis has said the two-hour, 10-minute treatments sap his energy and sometimes leave him feeling nauseated. Last week, he received a treatment on Friday afternoon hours after a flight back from Seattle. The next morning he felt too exhausted to start Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the Seattle Mariners.

Johnson said he became concerned about Davis during Tuesday's workout at Camden Yards.

"Either it's all the interviews he's doing or whatever. He was some kind of exhausted. He's been on 'Nightline,' byline and every line," Johnson said.

"I just want him to be relaxed. I hope he'll have enough time to relax to be able to perform at his level. That's why I didn't play him [Wednesday]. With chemo, the operation and losing weight and everything else he's had to deal with, it's been absolutely amazing."

Davis was scheduled to go directly from Camden Yards after last night's game to the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center on North Broadway to receive the 11th of 18 treatments. The treatments began in early July, a month after doctors at Hopkins removed a malignant tumor and about a third of Davis' colon.

Hargrove pulls Thome

Seemingly taking a page from Johnson's book, Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove started right-handed-hitting Kevin Seitzer at first base against Orioles left-hander Jimmy Key. That put left-handed-hitting Jim Thome on the bench, removing his career-high 40 home runs from the lineup.

Seitzer appeared in 64 games during the regular season, batting .268 with two homers. He was 1-for-3 against Key this year, and 14-for-57 (.246) lifetime. Thome was 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI against Key this year, and 1-for-4 (.250) in his career.

"I've said all along, even during the New York series when Jim didn't play against David Wells but did against [Andy] Pettitte, that there are certain left-handed pitchers who I don't feel Jim matches up well with. Jimmy Key is one of those guys," Hargrove said.

"This isn't something that's brand-new for us to do. Kevin's a lifetime .300 hitter. He's a professional hitter and I think he has a better chance to be effective against Key than Thome does."

Seitzer was 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Key and walked in one appearance against Scott Kamieniecki. Thome pinch hit for Seitzer in the eighth and walked, setting up Marquis Grissom's game-winning, three-run homer off Armando Benitez.

Rhodes another Koufax?

One of the most interesting subjects for the out-of-town media is Arthur Rhodes, who continues to flourish as a reliever after never finding his niche in the rotation.

"I think sometimes a young pitcher takes awhile to come into his own," Johnson said.

The Orioles manager has found that to be true especially of hard-throwing left-headers.

"Look at Sandy Koufax. He didn't come into his own until he was about 28 years old," Johnson said. "Arthur Rhodes is a hard thrower, kind of like Sandy, with a hard breaking ball and a changeup. He's learned how to pitch a little bit.

"His command is much better than it was when I first saw him two springs ago. He's much more confident. I just think it's the maturation process along with success out on the field," Johnson said of Rhodes, who continues to receive treatment for a strained muscle near his elbow. "Now, I think he could possibly start as well as relieve, although he's too valuable to me out of the 'pen to think about starting him."

Then there's setup man Benitez, whose willingness to use his slider at any time in the count has enabled him to turn the corner, as well.

"Armando, last year, hurt himself trying to overthrow his slider," Johnson said. "He worked a lot over the winter with [scout] Carlos Bernhardt down in the Dominican and learned not to overthrow the slider, and to throw it early or late in the count. I think that's important. He's throwing a lot of strikes for a power pitcher. He's gotten better and better."

Hammonds 'healthier'

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