'Happy' Miller gives Malone raving endorsement as GM Pinkie still hurting, Alomar put on DL

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Hammonds plays

July 26, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

With Pat Gillick still expected to depart as general manager after this season, Ray Miller has begun lobbying for assistant GM Kevin Malone to become Gillick's successor. The Orioles manager did some campaigning from his office after yesterday's 4-2 loss to Seattle.

"I'm real happy with what Kevin and Pat did," he said, noting how the recent additions of outfielders Rich Becker and Lyle Mouton brought some much-needed speed and a stronger defensive presence in right field.

"Kevin's done a good job for me. I hope he can stay. I think he's an outstanding young man with great work habits and he has a great rapport with everybody in baseball. I just like working with him.

"Apparently, Pat's not coming back, so if I can have Kevin to work with that would be great. He's an outstanding talent and person."

Malone, who has been working without a contract since December, served as Montreal's general manager for two years before being hired by Gillick in 1995.

On DL, Alomar flies to Fla.

Placed on the disabled list yesterday to clear room for pitcher Scott Kamieniecki's return, second baseman Roberto Alomar took a flight to Sarasota, Fla., to see his own doctor and get some treatment at the Orioles' minor-league facility for the soreness and swelling that resulted from dislocating his right pinkie.

Alomar, who suffered the injury July 18 in Anaheim while diving into second base, is expected to rejoin the Orioles in a few days. He can be activated Aug. 3, before the club starts a two-game homestand against Detroit that is followed by a 10-game road trip.

The decision was made to put Alomar on the DL after he experienced pain while hitting some soft tosses in the underground batting cage Friday afternoon.

"He actually swung pretty good," said Miller, "but when he missed, it bit a little. Robbie said when he hit the bag [in Anaheim], the finger popped out and he put it back in. The ligament was quite loose up until [Friday]. It tightened up quite a bit.

"The doctors and everybody convinced him that if you swing and aggravate that now, it could last all year, but if you wait another four or five days and get treatment, it should be 100 percent."

Key return imminent

Miller said the Orioles probably will activate Jimmy Key from the disabled list "the first of the week," then decide whether to put him in the bullpen or the rotation. "I'll sit on it a day or two," Miller said.

Key went six innings in Friday night's rehab start at Single-A Frederick, throwing 70 pitches and allowing two runs -- both on homers that would have been routine fly balls in bigger parks.

"Those kids can hit, too," he said. "All in all, two bad pitches out of 70 isn't bad."

Key said he felt OK yesterday, other than the soreness that comes with appearing in a game for the first time in two months. He still feels some discomfort when throwing and is prepared to pitch with it the rest of the season.

As for his role upon being activated, Key said he'll let Miller worry about that. "I'm here to do whatever is asked of me," he said. "If they feel we're better as a team with me [pitching in relief], that's the way we'll go."

Hammonds back in lineup

Jeffrey Hammonds started in center field, getting his first at-bats since leaving the July 13 game against Toronto after five innings when he felt some tingling down his left arm. Hammonds, who had been on the DL with a disk-related nerve disorder in his neck, had an infield hit and struck out twice in five trips yesterday.

Hammonds said he felt some discomfort in his hand while swinging in the first inning but became more comfortable as the game progressed. His legs were fine. He ran down two long drives in center field.

Miller took the opportunity to rest Brady Anderson with Seattle starting a left-hander, Jeff Fassero. "I wanted to get Brady out of there. He's a little dinged up. He can use a day," Miller said.

Lyle Mouton, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Rochester after Thursday's game, received his first start. Playing right field, he threw out Russ Davis at second and went 1-for-4.

Family fun

The morning after picking up his eighth victory with 7 2/3 solid innings, Mike Mussina couldn't keep anyone off the bases.

Mussina handled the "pitching" chores in the Family Game, tossing the ball from about 10 feet while the players' kids took their swings. Everything went down as a hit, even the squibbers in front of the plate that were followed by abbreviated runs to first base.

Luckily for Mussina, the balls were soft. Preston Palmeiro lined one off the pitcher's leg, causing him to tumble to the ground with a mock injury. Shannon Malone, 11, daughter of the assistant general manager, circled the bases to score the tying run on the final play.

'Day off' for Ripken

Cal Ripken is taking a day off, but not the kind that stops newspaper presses across the country.

Miller said he'll hold Ripken and Rafael Palmeiro out of tomorrow's Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, N.Y. They've started all 104 games this season.

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