Baines, Alomar ready to return Baines, Davis to share DH

Oriole Notebook

Miller rages at team, ump

August 03, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The wait for Harold Baines and Roberto Alomar is expected to end tomorrow as the club intends to activate both players from the disabled list. Baines is deemed recovered from a strained left hamstring that has sidelined him since July 10. Alomar spoke with manager Ray Miller yesterday and assured him he is ready to hit after rehabilitating his right hand from an injured pinkie.

"If we got rained out I was going to get him here for [today]," Miller said.

Alomar was placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 19 with the injury he sustained sliding into second base against Anaheim.

When Alomar left he rivaled Eric Davis and Rafael Palmeiro as the club's hottest hitter. He retains a five-game hitting streak (11-for-23). Miller said last week that Alomar would return to the leadoff role when available.

Baines and Davis will share time at designated hitter. In Baines' absence, Davis has assumed everyday responsibility as DH and gone on a career-high hitting streak. Miller says he will not observe a strict platoon but base his decision on each hitter's success against individual starters.

Clearing the air

Miller closed the clubhouse doors before yesterday's game to voice his displeasure over Saturday night's 9-5 fiasco that included a team-record eight steals by the Royals and numerous mental lapses. "I just said, 'Let's go.' "

He then took his rage onto the field following Jose Offerman's third-inning bunt single, earning his sixth ejection of the season.

Miller was outraged that plate umpire Rocky Roe did not rule Offerman had run out of the batter's box to drag his bunt. Replays backed Miller's argument. Miller turned around his hat Earl Weaver-style and kicked at the dirt to get thumbed. He then booted catcher Lenny Webster's mask halfway to the dugout as he left the field.

Asked about the contents of the meeting, Miller remained vague. "We had lot of Gumbys out there last night," he said, referring to his club's limp approach.

Miller downplayed Scott Kamieniecki's obvious disgust with his defensive support. While the Royals ran wild for eight steals -- four behind him -- Kamieniecki also threw up his hands when second baseman Jeff Reboulet suffered a mental lapse on a ground ball.

"You just have to turn the page on a game like that," said Miller. "Sometimes you get up in the morning and your keys aren't there. Then you go back in the house to get your keys and you forget your briefcase. It was one of those kind of days. There's no excuse for them, but they just happen. We're 18-5 in our last 23 games. I told them to think about that."

Four-man future?

Depending on his team's proximity to the Boston Red Sox, Miller wouldn't discount the possibility of adopting a four-man rotation "down the road." The idea gets a trial run the next week as off days today and Thursday allow Miller to sidestep his fifth starter until Aug. 11 in Tampa Bay.

Miller admits he is considering a four-man starting rotation later, especially given the injury-related problems still confronting Jimmy Key and Kamieniecki. But he is not prone to quick action because of Mike Mussina's strained right groin and Scott Erickson's recent signs of fatigue. Mussina starts tomorrow after laboring through his previous outing in Detroit.

With two days off this week, Miller wants Erickson to use his additional two days between starts to rest rather than throw.

Palmeiro exits early

Palmeiro leads the Orioles in innings played, but was removed from yesterday's seventh inning because of pain in his left leg. Miller had approached him about sitting out, but Palmeiro lobbied to keep intact his run of 111 starts in 111 games. He justified his presence with two doubles and two RBIs.

"I need to be in there," Palmeiro said. "I can still help the team like this. It's not like I can't run. It's just sore. We've got two off days coming up and I think that will make a big difference."

Rick Down, who ran the game after Miller departed, said Palmeiro's removal was "for precautionary reasons" only.

"I can run OK," said Palmeiro, who favored the leg running out his second double. "It's like a sprained ankle. It's there, but you can deal with it. You get up in the morning and it's just stiff."

Palmeiro, Cal Ripken and B. J. Surhoff have played every game this season. Surhoff maintained his perfect attendance by replacing Palmeiro at first base. It was his sixth appearance at first base since 1995.

Davis moving on Raffy

Should it continue on this week's mini-homestand, Davis' 20-game hit streak could pass Palmeiro's club record next weekend.

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