Orosco moves up, possibly out Coveted in trade talks, left-hander ties for 5th in career appearances

Orioles Notebook

July 31, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

DETROIT -- Another day and another milestone arrived yesterday for Jesse Orosco. For a reward, he still wants to have a Baltimore mailing address come tomorrow.

Continuing a blistering 19-game run, Orosco pitched a perfect eighth inning in the Orioles' 6-4 win over the Detroit Tigers. The appearance was No. 1,002 of his career, tying him with Rich Gossage for fifth on the career list and only 68 games behind all-time leader Hoyt Wilhelm. He drew within two more outings of becoming only the fourth pitcher to make 1,000 career relief appearances.

At 41, Orosco has a wish: to finish his career in Baltimore. The next 24 hours could dash the dream.

A resident of San Diego, Orosco knows the Padres may attempt to fortify their bullpen with an additional left-hander. By allowing only one earned run and 11 base runners in his past 18 1/3 innings, Orosco has only enhanced his trade value. Still, the ancient left-hander does not covet a deal to a contender.

"I'm happy with the Orioles. I hope it doesn't happen," he said. "But I know crazy stuff happens in this game. I've told people I want to finish my career here. Sometimes you get older and you get a chance to play at home. some people want that. If for some reason I got traded to San Diego, I could deal with that. But if I

don't, I'm not going to worry about finishing at home."

The Orioles say they prefer not to deal from their major-league roster, but subtraction from an increasingly effective bullpen is an option. Armando Benitez is coveted by the Atlanta Braves, among others. Alan Mills and Orosco also have stirred interest. ,, The waiver deadline arrives at midnight tonight, meaning any deal likely will be finalized shortly after tonight's game against the Kansas City Royals.

"We're talking," general manager Pat Gillick said after yesterday's game. "The chances of a deal are about the same as yesterday."

Gillick described the odds of a deal as "50-50" on Wednesday night. Gillick is still entertaining offers for second baseman Roberto Alomar but said a deal is "unlikely."

Anderson sits vs. lefty

Manager Ray Miller gave center fielder Brady Anderson a down day against Tigers left-hander Justin Thompson. Instead of citing Anderson's ongoing struggles against left-handed pitching, Miller said he wanted to preserve what he sees as Anderson's improved approach.

"It looks to me like he's got something going, and I'd like to see him build off it," Miller said.

Miller remains insistent that Anderson will revert to the No. 2 spot in the order when Alomar comes off the disabled list. Alomar, still rehabilitating in Sarasota, Fla., from an injured right pinkie, is RTC expected to be activated Tuesday.

"He's something like 0-for-9 with five punchouts off [Thompson]. The way he swung yesterday, I told him he'd get today off and have his chances against left-handed pitching in Kansas City," said Miller, noting today's start against Jose Rosado and a Sunday start against Glendon Rusch. Miller must be drawing his conclusions from sources other than the stat page. Anderson entered yesterday in a 5-for-32 (.156) skid covering his past nine games.

A year after hitting left-handers at a .281 clip, Anderson has never gotten untracked against them this season.

He carries a .145 average (12-for-83) against left-handers with one home run, 10 RBIs and 21 strikeouts. Against right-handers, he is hitting .253 (60-for-237) with nine home runs, 26 RBIs and 32 strikeouts.

Webster is DH for a day

Riding the most productive offensive tear of his career, Lenny Webster experienced a career first yesterday when Miller employed him as designated hitter.

Not only did Webster take on a different role, but he also batted in the No. 5 slot for the first time since May 18, 1994, while with the Montreal Expos.

Webster entered yesterday hitting .442 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in his previous 10 games with an at-bat. His two-week offensive blitz persuaded Miller to leave himself without a backup catcher on the bench. Had starter Chris Hoiles been forced from the game -- he was hit in the thigh by a pitch in the second inning -- Miller would have shifted Webster behind the plate and been forced to have his pitcher bat.

Ahead 6-4, Miller shifted Webster behind the plate in the eighth inning. Miller's only other contingency would have been to use left fielder B. J. Surhoff behind the plate. Surhoff reached the major leagues as a catcher, but has not worked there since 1995.

More history for Ripken

Cal Ripken moved past Luis Aparicio into 15th place on the career at-bats list. His second at-bat gave him 10,231, one more than Aparicio. Ripken celebrated with a single.

Pub Date: 7/31/98

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