Erickson-Webster battery gets recharge


Miller: Reunion `might be lasting'

DeShields 0-for-9

April 15, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Another assignment for Scott Erickson last night brought another start for Orioles catcher Lenny Webster, the second time in two opportunities that manager Ray Miller has paired them in a game.

The acquisition of four-time Gold Glove catcher Charles Johnson led to speculation that Webster wouldn't catch Erickson exclusively, as he has done since their days in Minnesota. But Erickson has stated a preference for keeping Webster behind the plate when he pitches, and Miller now appears less inclined to disrupt the arrangement.

"It might be lasting," he said before the Orioles' 14-7 loss last night.

"Obviously they worked good together last time. I want my pitching to come around and Scott was comfortable last time with him."

Previously 1-for-3 off David Cone, Webster was 0-for-2 with a walk off the Yankees' starter.

DeShields on the move

Delino DeShields was in the lineup again last night, making his third start since coming off the disabled list Sunday. Although he was 0-for-2 to be 0-for-9 on the season, he also drew a walk and stole his first two bases in the Orioles' five-run seventh inning.

DeShields, projected as the No. 2 hitter behind Brady Anderson before fracturing his left thumb this spring, batted eighth ahead of the catcher in his first two starts before dropping to ninth last night.

"I just want to get a little speed at the bottom of the lineup," Miller said.

DeShields won't necessarily remain in the eighth or ninth spot. Miller said he'll consider moving DeShields to the top of the order while lowering Anderson to a run-producing slot.

"I've thought about it, somewhere along the line," Miller said. "I'd like to see him get going first. There's lots of scenarios."

Linton battered, but ready

Doug Linton, scheduled to make his second start Saturday in Toronto, said he feels no pain in his right hand after being hit by a one-hopper from Norberto Martin in the second inning of Sunday's game against the Blue Jays. But there's still some soreness below the palm of his left hand from a liner by Shawn Green later in the inning that Linton knocked down before recording the out.

"The ball got all wrist," he said. "It's not as tender as it was the last two days, though. It's fine."

Tabloid targets

As usual, the Orioles weren't spared any abuse from the New York media yesterday. A few samplings:

New York Post columnist Joel Sherman wrote: "They keep throwing dollar after dollar at a plan of the moment, hoping to prop up their fading legends for a title run. Instead, the results are disjointed teams with bloated payrolls and deflated realities of actually winning a championship. The Baltimore team that collapsed in the eighth inning [Tuesday] night again looks like a testament to dollars over sense; a heavyweight payroll to support a lightweight plan."

Daily News columnist Mark Kriegel went a step further, digging his heels in some sacred soil. "The owner, Peter Angelos, wants a team worthy of his stadium. Never mind that Camden Yards is merely the world's biggest Bennigan's. In Baltimore, it is considered an architectural triumph on a par with the cathedral at Chartres."

`Rocket' record launch

Today's Orioles can do a favor for one of the past by beating Roger Clemens tonight. "The Rocket" goes for his 17th consecutive victory, which would tie the American League mark of Johnny Allen and former Orioles left-hander Dave McNally.

Though three of Clemens' wins during the streak have come at the Orioles' expense, there is precedent for stopping him. His opponent tonight, Mike Mussina, was on the mound May 8, 1997, when the Orioles beat Seattle, 13-3, to stop Randy Johnson's 16-game winning streak.

Around the horn

Harold Baines' homer was the 350th of his career. Before his RBI single in the third inning, B. J. Surhoff was batting .111 (1-for-9) with runners in scoring position. Yankees left fielder Ricky Ledee has struck out five times in seven at-bats. Orioles starters have a 7.26 ERA. The Yankees' starters are at 1.51. Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius was scratched with a sprained right ankle. Nine of the Yankees' runs came with two outs. Chuck Knoblauch also had five hits in 1996 for Minnesota. Paul O'Neill has 1,001 RBIs.

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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