Hargrove has sock for Ogea's 'cheating' mouth Manager denies charge against Hershiser

Hammonds waits turn

ALCS notebook

October 14, 1997|By Roch Kubatko and Don Markus | Roch Kubatko and Don Markus,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starter Chad Ogea made news before Game 4 by bluntly stating that Orel Hershiser cheats, a point Orioles manager Davey Johnson had raised on Saturday while complaining to umpires that the pitcher was moistening the ball by rubbing the back of his neck and going to his mouth.

Ogea stunned a media gathering by saying, "I've known Orel for three years. He cheats. And just about everybody else does. Why not? He showed me how to cheat but said I couldn't use it until I was 35."

Yesterday, Indians manager Mike Hargrove had the quote relayed to him by reporters -- the first time he had heard Ogea's comments. He shook his head, then attempted a little damage control.

"Do I agree with his statement that everybody cheats? No," he said. "Chad Ogea doesn't cheat any more than Orel Hershiser cheats. That's as honest as I can be with you. I honestly do not believe they cheat."

Hargrove addressed another question, then came back to the previous topic without prompting.

"Let me say something else about the remark Chad made about cheating," he said. "Chad Ogea's not stupid. So, if Chad Ogea was cheating, he sure wouldn't have said anything."

As Hargrove left the podium and headed for the door, he muttered, "I'll have to stuff a sock in his mouth."

Hammonds sits, waits

Cleveland's string of right-handed starters and Johnson's insistence on getting Geronimo Berroa's bat in the lineup conspired again to keep Jeffrey Hammonds on the bench.

Hammonds played sparingly down the stretch because of a strained left Achilles' tendon and a pronounced slump but made three starts in the Division Series because of Seattle's left-handed rotation, going 1-for-10. His only hit was a two-run double in the ninth inning of Game 3.

Hammonds, who didn't bat last night, is 0-for-2 with a walk in the ALCS. Berroa, who started again in right field, was 3-for-12 with an RBI before his two-run single in the third inning.

"I'm basically going with my best lineup," Johnson said. "I played him [Hammonds] a lot in the Division Series against left-handed pitching. I've been picking and choosing, mixing and matching. He's been a big part of our ballclub, but tough right-handers give him a problem."

Johnson said this probably is the healthiest Hammonds has been all year. "He hasn't been able to go two or three days in a row."

He has, however, been able to give the Orioles some power, hitting a career-high 21 home runs. His previous high was nine last season.

Keeping his head in game

The Indians received a brief scare before Game 5 when outfielder Brian Giles was hit in the forehead by a ball during batting practice.

It sounds worse than it actually was, considering that Giles remained in the lineup and even met with reporters. He walked in smiling, then explained that the ball had deflected off the glove of Marquis Grissom before striking him.

"I'm OK," he said. "There wasn't any blood, but the [league] president's name is on my forehead. I'll be all right."

Giles continues to start against right-handed pitching because David Justice is restricted to being the designated hitter due to a knee injury. He was hitless in the ALCS until Sunday, when he doubled twice off Scott Erickson, making him 2-for-11 (.182) with no RBIs. Including the Division Series, Giles was batting .167 (3-for-18) with no RBIs in the postseason before last night.

"A lot of it has to do with your adrenalin in the postseason," he said. "Maybe I was a little anxious up there. [Sunday] night, I did kind of relax up there and was able to swing at better pitches. I was able to narrow it down and get the fat part of the bat on the ball."

Giles was 1-for-2 last night, with a double off Roberto Alomar's glove.

Baines steadying influence

Harold Baines came into last night batting .364 (4-for-11) in the ALCS, including a two-run homer off Indians rookie Jaret Wright in Game 4. Limited to one start in the Division Series because of Seattle's left-handed rotation -- he homered off former Oriole Jamie Moyer -- Baines has been in the lineup for every game against Cleveland. He went 1-for-3 last night.

"It's always good to have a guy like Baines in your clubhouse," said Johnson, "a guy who's been around and knows how to rise to the occasion when things aren't going your way."

Roberts returns

Bip Roberts tested his strained left knee yesterday, said it felt good enough to play and was put atop the Indians' batting order.

Roberts, acquired in a trade with Kansas City for the September stretch drive, left Game 4 after five innings because of the injury. He showed no signs of being slowed last night, lining a double to left field in the first inning.

"Once we talked to the trainers and talked to Bip himself, he said he was ready to go," Hargrove said.

Last but not least

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