Hammonds, who has been bothered for most of the second half of the season by a strained left Achilles', wasn't in the lineup again last night, but Johnson said he wouldn't hesitate to use him.
"He's healthier. He's running better," Johnson said.
Johnson had Hammonds pinch hit for Mike Bordick in the ninth inning last night. Hammonds drew a walk, then was forced out at second base on Brady Anderson's weak grounder to short.
Hammonds' time is limited more because the Indians are starting four right-handers in this series.
"It's a chance for him to rest up," Johnson said.
Show me the money
Initial projections that the postseason could bring the club an additional $9 million in revenues have been tempered given the brevity of the Division Series and the redistribution of some of the money to revenue-sharing.
Under the current formula for distribution of playoff revenues, clubs benefit from a protracted series since the players' pool is drawn from the first three games of the Division Series and the first four games of the League Championship Series and the World Series.
When the Division Series against the Mariners lasted only four games, the Orioles took a hit.
Still to be determined is whether the Executive Council will allow some revenues to be offset by expenses incurred during the postseason. During the regular season no such allowance is made because all teams theoretically share the same burden. However, no dispensation has yet been made for teams with additional expenses.
Joe Foss, the Orioles' vice chairman for business and finance, said revenue projections for the postseason already have been scaled back by $1.8 million.
The $9 million projection was based upon the Orioles playing the maximum 19 postseason games.
A Vizquel booster
His name may not be the first to jump out at you in the Cleveland lineup, but shortstop Omar Vizquel brought a scorching bat into the ALCS. Hitting second, he went 9-for-18 with a Division Series-record nine steals against New York.
Hargrove already was an avid booster of Vizquel's even before the ALCS heroics.
"Omar is one of the leaders of our ballclub," he said. "For the most part, he's a very quiet leader. He's not very vocal. Omar's style of play is probably what spurs guys on as much as anything, the way he does what he does.
"He bare-hands ground balls, and his daring on the bases scares the heck out of me."
Keeping him off the bases was a big key to the Orioles' Game 1 win. Vizquel went 0-for-4 and struck out twice. Closer Randy Myers got him looking to end the game.
Vizquel was hit by a pitch last night -- one of three by Key in the first inning -- and Manny Ramirez followed with a home run. He was robbed of a hit in the second inning on a diving catch by left fielder B. J. Surhoff, walked in the fourth and was stranded, and struck out in the seventh and ninth.
Orioles general manager Pat Gillick says second baseman Roberto Alomar may be recovered more from his various physical ailments than the psychological scars left by last year's September confrontation with umpire John Hirschbeck and the residual resentment he experiences around the league.
"He might be 100 percent physically; he's not 100 percent mentally," Gillick said.
Gillick acknowledged that Alomar is among those most aware of what goes on around him and that he is still sensitive to the hostile reception he receives in many cities. Interestingly, Hirschbeck is part of the six-man crew assigned to the ALCS. Alomar and Hirschbeck, who made a public peace shaking hands at the beginning of a game in April, spoke behind second base before Game 1.
Alomar has endured the first significant stretch of injuries in his career this season and also had a dispute with Johnson over his failure to appear at an exhibition game in Rochester. Alomar was fined $10,500 then missed most of August and September with a right groin pull.
"Robbie came into the season with an ankle problem, then hurt his shoulder and had a groin [pull]," Gillick said. "For the time he's played, he's actually had a pretty good year."
Catching some praise
After Wednesday's game, Cleveland's David Justice referred to Orioles catcher Lenny Webster as "the best game-caller in the majors."
Said Johnson: "Lenny's done an absolute great job from Day One. He's got the confidence of everybody he catches. And not to take away from Chris Hoiles, he's done an outstanding job also. I think we've got a pretty good tandem."
Hargrove keeps faith
Hargrove said yesterday that he wasn't overly concerned about Orioles pitchers being "locked in," after Scott Erickson continued a postseason trend of strong performances by suffocating his offense over eight innings in Game 1.
"For that to be a major concern, it's going to have to be more than just the first game," he said.
He wasn't given a reason to fret early last night. Key threw 33 pitches in the first inning, set a postseason record by hitting three batters and allowed two runs.
Around the horn