Alomar, Baines activated, act quickly Put into starting lineup, both respond with hits

Orioles Notebook

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

The Orioles marked their brief return home with two important additions, activating Roberto Alomar and Harold Baines from the disabled list before last night's game against the Detroit Tigers.

Alomar was placed on the DL retroactive to July 19 with an injured right pinkie sustained while diving into second base in Anaheim. He rehabilitated the hand at the club's minor-league complex in Sarasota, Fla., hitting from both sides of the plate last week and assuring manager Ray Miller that he was ready. Miller, in turn, showed he was convinced by putting Alomar atop the order against Tigers pitcher Bryce Florie.

Alomar was 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored last night.

Alomar, who was 11-for-23 during a five-game hitting streak before being lost, took early batting practice yesterday while assistant trainer Brian Ebel watched from behind the cage. He'll keep the finger wrapped and slip padding over the knob of the bat to cushion it when hitting left-handed. Alomar experiences more discomfort hitting right-handed, so Miller must decide today whether to start him against Tigers left-hander Justin Thompson.

"It's still a little tender and a little swollen, but I've got almost all my strength back," Alomar said. "The more treatment I get and the swelling goes out, the more I'll be able to bend it."

Baines, who batted fifth last night as the designated hitter and was 1-for-2, had been out since July 10 with a strained left hamstring. He took early batting practice in Kansas City, running from first to third without the injury flaring up again. Baines initially had hurt the leg while running out a double on June 22.

"You sit here and you have a chance to write both Alomar and Baines in the lineup, you feel pretty good, especially with the way everybody else has been going," Miller said.

With Thompson on the mound today, Baines probably will be replaced by Eric Davis. He'll receive additional time off with no game scheduled tomorrow.

To clear room for both players, the Orioles returned infielder P.J.Forbes and outfielder Lyle Mouton to Triple-A Rochester.

Forbes, 30, went 1-for-8 after being called up to the majors for the first time. His ninth-inning single in Kansas City was witnessed by 21 family members who drove from Forbes' hometown of Pittsburg, Kan. Afterward, he gave the ball to his parents, "my biggest fans," he said.

Mouton was 2-for-10 after replacing Joe Carter on the roster. Having begun the year in Japan before signing a Triple-A contract with the Orioles, he termed yesterday's move "understandable."

Mouton's contract stipulates that he join the Orioles in September. "I definitely want to be part of the postseason roster," he said. "I think this team's going to catch Boston."

Rhodes throws on side

Miller continues to wait on reliever Arthur Rhodes, who hasn't pitched since July 4 because of an inflamed flexor tendon in his left elbow. Rhodes is the last remaining Oriole on the DL, but Miller got an encouraging sign yesterday.

Rhodes threw on the side with Ebel while the Orioles took batting practice, his first time doing so since being injured. He's still not sure when he'll attempt to throw from a mound.

"It felt good today. I let a couple loose at the end and it didn't bother me. I'll see how it feels [today]," he said.

Said Miller: "If everything's fine, we should probably get him rolling, maybe pitch at [Double-A] Bowie. He should be around pretty soon, within a week or 10 days hopefully."

This is the first time the Orioles have had only one player on the disabled list since April 19.

Hart throws in bullpen

Alex Hart, the Orioles' second-round draft pick out of Chambersburg, Pa., threw in the bullpen while being watched by a gathering of club officials that included Miller, general manager Pat Gillick, assistant GM Kevin Malone and scouting director Gary Nickels.

Hart, 18, remains unsigned, but said his father met with Nickels ++ again yesterday. "I guess they're taking care of business," he said.

"This is a great place. How could you not have fun here?"

Miller perked up after seeing the 6-foot-6 pitcher. "I'm going to buy Gary Nickels a dinner. This whole year, every time he walks in with somebody he's trying to sign, the kid's taller than me and throws the [heck] out of the ball with a good delivery," Miller said.

Pub Date: 8/05/98

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