Miller hopes Anderson steps up front, center Hot streak by outfielder would reopen leadoff debate

Orioles Notebook

July 05, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Roberto Alomar was in the leadoff spot for the fifth consecutive game yesterday, and the 28th time this season. He went 1-for-4, leaving him 33-for-115 (.287) atop the order.

Alomar mostly had been hitting fifth, where he was 34-for-92 (.370) in 25 games, before moving up. He replaced Brady Anderson, who Anderson was dropped to sixth.

Anderson had been 3-for-14 since the switch before singling in two runs in the first inning and adding another single in the ninth. He's batting .266 (50-for-188) with eight homers and 25 RBIs since a 4-for-63 start.

"I'd love to see Brady get hot and move him back up front," manager Ray Miller said. "I like Robbie there. He's probably your more conventional leadoff hitter. But we need Brady to get hot."

Anderson had been on the disabled list with a strained shoulder joint, an injury that Miller can only assume isn't bothering his center fielder. "He says he's all right. Once in a while I'll see him grimace when he swings and misses, but I don't know if that's just frustration," Miller said.

The Baines wait drags on

Harold Baines remains out of the lineup because of a strained left hamstring. He has made only three plate appearances since June 22, when he hurt himself running out a double at Camden Yards against the New York Mets.

Baines still leads the club in batting at .326. He also leads the AL with a .414 average with runners in scoring position -- stats that Miller wishes weren't confined to the bench.

Miller said he has been told by trainer Richie Bancells that Baines can hit, but probably would have to be removed for a runner or risk further injury.

143-pitch recovery

The Yankees got a welcome sight yesterday as Andy Pettitte walked through the clubhouse. His left arm wasn't scraping the floor.

Pettitte threw a career-high 143 pitches in Friday night's 3-2 win, a necessary act of bravado with his bullpen depleted. After allowing four hits and walking six, Pettitte sat on the trainer's table getting a rubdown as the Yankees scored the tie-breaking run in the ninth.

"I feel pretty good today, a little sore but good," he said. "I knew Joe [Torre, Yankees manager] would give me the chance to win the game, with the 'pen being down and stuff. In a game like that, he knows how much you pitch your heart out and you want the chance to get the win."

Friday second thoughts

Miller said he replayed parts of Friday's game in his mind "a thousand times." Who could have blamed him for wanting to forget?

"It's one of those games where you go home and think of the what-ifs. You could go a million different ways," he said.

Miller pulled reliever Armando Benitez into his office later that night to explain why he allowed left-hander Jesse Orosco to face four straight right-handed batters in the ninth inning, which concluded with Scott Brosius lining the game-winner into right-center field.

Miller said he wanted to assure Benitez, who had been warming the last two innings, that he wasn't withholding the reliever because of the May 19 brawl.

"I didn't want him to think what happened then had anything to do with it," Miller said.

Miller said he would have brought in Benitez to face Chad Curtis if Orosco hadn't hit Tim Raines leading off the inning. Miller figured Orosco would do a better job holding the runner, and also wanted him in the game because he's a better fielder than Benitez.

Curtis reached on an infield hit. Orosco threw out Raines at third base on a bunt by pinch hitter Dale Sveum, but Curtis stole third and was driven in by Brosius.

Around the horn

Scott Kamieniecki will throw in the bullpen again today. He anticipates having two more side sessions after that before making a possible rehab start in the minors. Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez has nine RBIs in his past four games. Closer Mariano Rivera has converted his last 10 save opportunities. Cal Ripken has grounded into only four double plays this year, but ranks sixth all-time with 306. He's in pretty good company. Hank Aaron is first at 328, followed by Carl Yastrzemski at 323, Dave Winfield at 319 and Eddie Murray and Jim Rice at 315. Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner both turned 68 yesterday. With a win today, the Yankees would be on pace to win 122 games -- six more than the modern record of 116 by the 1906 Cubs. Teresa Wright, who portrayed Eleanor Gehrig in the 1942 movie "The Pride of the Yankees," threw out the first pitch. Wearing a Yankees cap, she made the throw from about 15 feet away. Reports that she'll start tomorrow at Triple-A Rochester haven't been confirmed.

Haunted house

The Orioles have a recent history of controversial umpiring calls at Yankee Stadium:

Aug. 15, 1993: Don Mattingly's eighth-inning fly ball was caught by a fan who reached over the wall, preventing right fielder Mark McLemore from making a play. McLemore said: "My glove was between the ball and the wall." Umpire Jim Joyce said: "The ball was well above the fence." The call stood as a homer. The Yankees won, 1-0.

Oct. 9, 1996: In Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, Derek Jeter's fly ball to the right-field wall was grabbed by a 12-year-old fan who reached over the glove of leaping Oriole Tony Tarasco. Umpire Rich Garcia later admitted he saw interference when he saw the video replay. Jeter's homer tied the game in the eighth, and the Yankees won in the ninth, 5-4.

July 4, 1998: Trailing 4-3 in the ninth, the Orioles had men on first and second with none out. On Chris Hoiles' bunt, the throw from pitcher Mariano Rivera popped out of third baseman Scott Brosius' glove, but umpire Marty Foster called an out on the play. The next batter, Rich Becker, hit into a game-ending double play.

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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