In clubhouse, mum's word on Johns' arrest

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

He yields HR in '99 debut

Bowie next for DeShields

April 08, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Doug Johns sat on one of the sofas in the Orioles' clubhouse yesterday, playing chess with pitcher Ricky Bones and delaying the moment when he would return to his locker and be hit with the inevitable questions from reporters.

Questions he couldn't answer.

Because his case is in litigation, Johns could offer only a "no comment" when asked about his arrest Monday night in downtown Baltimore on charges of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while intoxicated and failure to obey a traffic signal.

A court date has been set for June 2, when the Orioles are in Seattle. Johns, 31, is being represented by attorneys from the law office of club owner Peter Angelos.

Manager Ray Miller had little to say concerning Johns.

"I've been instructed by the club, and I feel it's imperative, not to make any comment," he said.

"I just told him, `You'll pitch. Clear your head, go pitch and we'll talk to you later.' "

Johns got that chance in the fourth inning last night, replacing starter Juan Guzman with a Tampa Bay runner on first and one out. He was given a mixed greeting by the crowd upon being introduced, then served up a home run to Dave Martinez on his third pitch.

The Devil Rays reached him for another run in the sixth, his last inning, on a fly ball from Martinez that scored Kevin Stocker.

Johns' status with the team had been in question before the arrest, which was precipitated by his allegedly running a red light at Lombard Street and Market Place. If Miller continues to carry 11 pitchers when he adds a fifth starter -- presumably Doug Linton -- for Sunday's game against Toronto, he'll need to trim a reliever from the staff. With Bones available for long duty, Johns could be sent to Triple-A Rochester.

Because of Johns' legal situation, such a move potentially could be complicated by a players association grievance.

The club also may face a decision whether to ban beer from the clubhouse after games, as some organizations have done.

"We'll wait and evaluate all that," Miller said.

DeShields shines in Fla.

Delino DeShields, who took a flight to Sarasota, Fla., after Monday's opener, went 4-for-9 with a stolen base and played four innings in the field in a simulated game yesterday morning at the Orioles' minor-league complex. He was facing live pitching for the first time since fracturing his left thumb in a March 4 intrasquad game.

DeShields fielded ground balls at second base for 10 minutes and turned 25 double plays, according to a report given to Miller. Six of his nine at-bats were against right-handed pitching.

"There was no pain," Miller said, adding that DeShields will leave Sarasota tonight and play in Bowie's opening game tomorrow.

DeShields can be activated Saturday since he was placed on the DL retroactive to March 25.

Reboulet plays through pain

Jeff Reboulet started at second again last night, reporting no problems with his left heel after appearing to reinjure it in the eighth inning of Monday's victory.

Reboulet, who continues to receive treatment for tendinitis, stopped abruptly at second on a single by Brady Anderson and grimaced as his foot slammed into the bag. He squatted as a new Devil Rays pitcher took his warm-up tosses, but was able to score on Will Clark's double.

"I kind of tweaked it a little, but it's fine," he said. "I'll do that during a game, where it'll grab on me. If that had happened earlier in the spring, I would have been done, but it's recovering quicker now."

In this case, Reboulet benefited from the Orioles not playing Tuesday. "He said he was fine today," Miller said. "I grabbed him and made him look me in the eye twice."

Reboulet walked in his first two at-bats and grounded out in the sixth.

Strange absence in infield

Reboulet said it was "very strange" not having Cal Ripken in the same infield last night.

Asked if he did a double-take when seeing Ripken's name omitted from the lineup, Reboulet said, "It's a double-take every time I look at the lineup and see my name in there. I worry about my own hide first."

"It's a little different," said shortstop Mike Bordick. "I think everybody expects that name to be written in all the time. He must really be hurting."

Willis Otanez, who pinch hit for Ripken on Monday, was told by Miller yesterday afternoon that he would be starting at third.

"It's nice for me, but I don't want my teammate to get hurt. He'll be OK in a few days," Otanez said. "It's like a normal day, a normal game. I always try to be ready for when he tells me I'm going in there."

Otanez, who was 0-for-3 in the opener, was ready last night. He doubled off Glen Burnie High graduate Tony Saunders in the fourth inning for his first extra-base hit in the majors, and homered off Albie Lopez in the sixth.

Around the horn

The Devil Rays placed outfielder Paul Sorrento on the 15-day disabled list after the game with a strained right hamstring. He was injured as he rounded third while scoring from first base on a triple by Miguel Cairo in the first inning. Tampa Bay's Stocker went 3-for-4 and is 5-for-7 with a walk this season. All fans tonight will receive a 1999 Orioles magnet schedule. It's also bargain night, with upper-reserved seats available for $8 instead of $13.

Pub Date: 4/08/99

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