FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Though not close to declaring Mike Bordick his No. 2 hitter, Orioles manager Ray Miller had the shortstop bat behind Brady Anderson for the second straight game.
Maybe he should lower Bordick two more spots.
Acting the part of a cleanup hitter, Bordick homered twice last night and drove in four runs in the Orioles' 7-6 loss to the Montreal Expos at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Both homers, in the first and fifth innings, came with a runner on base. He also walked in the third.
Bordick, who hit a career-high 13 homers last season, had gone 2-for-3 with a run scored in Friday's loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Miller explained the lineup change by saying he wanted to get Bordick his three at-bats without keeping him in the game too long. Otherwise, no assumptions should be made.
Miller also said Bordick could remain there if he "goes out and gets two hits." He's done it twice since moving up from ninth, where Jeff Reboulet batted last night.
A fractured thumb suffered March 4 most likely will force Delino DeShields onto the disabled list and prevent him from hitting second on Opening Day. Reboulet is a candidate to replace him there, but Bordick's candidacy is gaining momentum.
"I think it's a feasible thing," Miller said. "Bordy's going to play wherever you put him. If DeShields isn't ready and Bordick continues to swing the bat good, which he is right now, obviously he'd open the season that way. It's an option.
"Bordy looks great. He's running great, he's swinging the bat decent. That would be a big plus. It also would help us out so we wouldn't have so many lefties bunched up [at the top of the order]. I'm not saying I'll do that but it's certainly an interesting thought."
Bordick's second homer made him 7-for-16 (.437) this spring.
Guzman sails through 4
Juan Guzman became the third Orioles starter in a row to go four innings, and he looked as though he could have pitched all night. The Expos weren't close to catching up to him.
Guzman allowed just one hit, a leadoff double by Michael Barrett in the third, walked one and struck out four. "I feel really good, and not only the result of the game, but the way I've felt since I've been in camp," he said.
Guzman had surgery late in the 1997 season to remove a bone spur from behind his shoulder. He returned sooner than expected and went a combined 10-16 with Toronto and the Orioles, never regaining the form that has made opposing hitters rate his stuff among the best in the American League.
"I know my shoulder's fine," he said. "Now, I can focus on doing my job. This is like a new start for me."
This spring, he has allowed just two hits in seven scoreless innings.
Toe better, Linton returns
Doug Linton allowed an unearned run in the seventh in his first appearance since breaking the little toe on his right foot when struck by a liner by the New York Mets' Todd Hundley on Monday. He walked one and struck out one.
Linton threw on the side two days after the injury, but was held back until last night. He assured pitching coach Bruce Kison that he felt good warming up, and bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks noted that the pitcher was pushing off fine.
"I can't make the team just sitting around," Linton said.
Reboulet still hurting
The Orioles remain quietly concerned about Reboulet's left foot. The team's projected Opening Day second baseman is hindered from playing consecutive days by residual pain in his heel.
Miller held him out of the lineup Thursday and Friday before again starting him last night. The condition, which has flared in recent years but appears to have worsened this spring, causes Reboulet pain after physical exertion. The club is experimenting with various inserts in his shoe but has yet to find a lasting answer.
Pub Date: 3/14/99