Alomar finds his place: No. 3 Miller: 'Best all-around' should be in third slot

Orioles Notebook

Bordick hits his stride

May 15, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

It took awhile, but Orioles manager Ray Miller finally has Roberto Alomar exactly where he wants him -- batting third in the order.

Miller had said during spring training that he preferred Alomar there, though he needed to wait until the second baseman proved his surgically repaired left shoulder would allow him to swing from the right side. Those questions have been answered -- Alomar is batting .354 (17-for-48) with two home runs right-handed -- and he batted third last night for the second consecutive game.

The only other time Alomar had hit third this season was April 2 against the Kansas City Royals, when he was 0-for-3. He had a double and an RBI triple Wednesday, but was 1-for-5 last night.

"That's where I wanted him all along. I was just trying to figure out how to do it," said Miller, who also has batted Alomar leadoff (19 times), second (12) and fifth (three).

"I think your best all-round hitter should be your third hitter. That's what I believe. And I'd like to keep him there if there's any way I can."

B. J. Surhoff hit second last night for the 12th time in 15 games, as Miller stacked the top of his lineup with left-handed bats in hopes of jumping on Cleveland starter Charles Nagy early.

Bordick on a tear

Not only did shortstop Mike Bordick begin last night with a seven-game hitting streak, he also had hit safely in nine of his past 10 games and 17 of 22.

With the game-time temperature at 80 degrees, this was no time to cool off. Bordick doubled leading off the third inning, delivered his fifth homer to begin the fourth, and had a single in the eighth.

It was Bordick's second straight three-hit game, and the first time he has hit home runs in back-to-back games. Since April 17, he is batting .365 (27-for-74) with six doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs.

His average has climbed from .063 to a season-high .274, but Miller will keep him at the bottom of the order unless Charlie Greene is catching.

"Not only is he swinging the bat with authority, but he's swinging at strikes," Miller said. "I guess that comes with confidence. When you're hitting good and seeing the ball good, you lay off the pitcher's pitch and hit the one you should. And that's what he's doing."

Bordick said he felt just as good at the beginning of the year but had nothing to show for it. "When things start happening positively, your confidence starts building," he said.

As for the home runs, which have left him three short of his career high, Bordick said, "I'm just trying to hit the ball hard, make good contact. It brought up my average. Don't expect too much more."

Yankees won't alter rotation

New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said yesterday that he won't alter his rotation for next week's series against the Orioles to include David Wells or Ramiro Mendoza, who threw a shutout in his last start.

Instead, Torre will stick with David Cone to open the series Tuesday in the Bronx, followed by Hideki Irabu and Andy Pettitte.

"We're not going to change anything," Torre said. "Everyone is pitching well. I wouldn't know who to skip."

Krivda's familiar feeling

For left-hander Rick Krivda, only the uniform has changed, not the circumstances.

As Krivda sees it, he's in the same predicament with the Indians as he was with the Orioles -- a long reliever on a veteran club with limited opportunities to pitch. He had appeared in only six games, including one start, before replacing Chad Ogea and throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings in Wednesday night's 8-1 loss.

"I really haven't been given an opportunity to contribute. Our starters have done really well and it's a veteran bullpen," he said.

Krivda (1-0, 3.72 ERA) had pitched with the Orioles for parts of three seasons, never able to match his minor-league proficiency, before being claimed off waivers by the Indians toward the end of spring training. He still has a home in Cockeysville.

"Doing the same job with a different team, it's like I wish I could have stuck it out one more year here," he said. "I'd feel a lot better if I was in the same situation with the Orioles because I'd still be living at home. I wouldn't be so bummed out that I wasn't pitching as much."

Asked if it felt strange to be standing in the visitor's clubhouse at Camden Yards, Krivda said, "I didn't know where it was. I had to find it first."

Essay contest winners

Three area elementary school students will be honored at Camden Yards today as winners of an essay contest sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service on "What baseball means to me."

The winners are Melvin Hunter, a fourth-grader at Hazelwood Elementary in Baltimore; Sarah Jordon, a fifth-grader at Cromwell Valley Elementary in Towson; and Tre'Vaughn Willis, a third-grader from Worton Elementary on the Eastern Shore. Orioles reliever Jesse Orosco will present their prizes.

Around the horn

Eric Davis hasn't started the past four games. Miller said he held Davis out of the lineup again last night because of some recurring arm stiffness. "I guarantee you when he comes back in, it'll be something electric," Miller said. Davis pinch hit for Chris Hoiles in the eighth inning last night, but struck out against Jose Mesa. Reliever Terry Mathews did some light throwing in the outfield before batting practice, with his inflamed right wrist taped to limit its movement. Though Mathews is eligible to come off the disabled list today, the club is trying to build him up to where he could make a rehab start or two in the minors.

Pub Date: 5/15/98

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