In consecutive games, hits, Surhoff is on a roll

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Another iron man brings smile from joking Miller

Kamieniecki stays in 'pen

June 17, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

As if Orioles manager Ray Miller doesn't have enough issues to tackle on a daily basis, he's now got another consecutive-games streak to contend with this season.

With Colorado's Vinny Castilla remaining on the bench Tuesday, B. J. Surhoff took over as baseball's active leader in consecutive games played. He appeared in No. 226 yesterday, making his usual start in left field.

"I didn't want to hear that," Miller said, jokingly.

In typical Surhoff fashion, he downplayed the accomplishment as if it didn't warrant any special attention.

"I feel fortunate that I've been healthy enough to play this long," he said. "Fortunately, my performance has warranted me being in the lineup that long, too."

Surhoff still has a way to go to challenge Cal Ripken's record streak of 2,632 games. "I'm not going to try to play another 15 years to get to 2,600," said Surhoff, 34. "I'll be lucky if I get 2,600 in my career."

As for gaining a better appreciation of Ripken's run, Surhoff said, "I didn't have to get to this point to drive that home. I knew how ridiculous it was then -- in a good way."

Surhoff kept another streak alive yesterday, getting a hit in his 17th straight game and leaving his average at .384 (28-for-73) during that span. He's hit safely in 54 of 64 games this season.

Orosco: No. 3 `great feeling'

Jesse Orosco passed Kent Tekulve once in Tuesday's game, and he soon will do it again.

The Orioles left-hander took over third place in all-time games pitched with 1,051, leaving him 20 away from Dennis Eckersley's record. Hoyt Wilhelm is one behind Eckersley.

Orosco also is four relief appearances shy of surpassing Tekulve and becoming the all-time leader in that department.

He kept the baseball from Tuesday's game to add to his growing collection. "It means a lot to me. It turned out to be a nice personal goal over the last few years, especially last year, knowing it was probably in reach," he said.

"It's a good feeling just knowing you've played for a long time and are able to reach these goals. You look at Ripken and see all his accomplishments. He's played a long time to get them. Mine don't compare, but it's still a great feeling.

"Not patting myself on the back, but if you don't go out there and put up numbers and do your job, the manager can just turn around and say, `I can't be putting this kid out there.' Especially this year, I've wanted to be able to have good numbers by the time I reached this goal. I didn't want to make a silly thing out of it. I didn't want it to be like I just hung on to get it. I still feel in my heart I can help this team out a lot. I'm throwing the ball good again."

His 6.46 ERA is the lowest it's been since April 10. He's stranded 11 of his last 12 inherited runners.

Kamieniecki in relief, for now

Jason Johnson will remain in the rotation and face Chicago this weekend despite his struggles on Tuesday, when he allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings. But Miller suggested that Scott Kamieniecki could eventually move back into a starting role after giving the club 4 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Johnson.

"I think that's a possibility," Miller said, "but right now I'd like to keep him [in the bullpen]. He's comfortable there. He seems happy, he seems healthy."

Kamieniecki was making his second relief appearance since rejoining the Orioles on June 7 from Triple-A Rochester, where he was sent to regain his command after being on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. The following night, he took the loss in the second game of a doubleheader in Florida, allowing two runs in the eighth inning.

"I felt the same way in Miami that I did [Tuesday]. I also felt that way the last two times I pitched in Rochester. Sometimes the results are misleading," he said.

"I've been throwing the ball pretty well. Now it's just a matter of going out there and getting some innings in and proving it."

Because he's been used sporadically in relief throughout his career, going to the bullpen hasn't been much of an adjustment.

"When you get 60 feet away, you've still got to get them out," he said. "I've been around long enough to know what to do to get ready."

Around the horn

Second baseman Delino DeShields left the club after Tuesday's game to be with his wife in Georgia for the birth of their third child. Jeff Reboulet started in his place yesterday and drove in the winning run with a seventh-inning bunt single. DeShields will rejoin the Orioles today in Chicago, where they begin a four-game series. Ripken extended his hitting streak to eight games with a second-inning single that also moved him past Al Simmons into 30th place on the all-time hits list with 2,928. Before yesterday's first pitch, general manager Frank Wren presented Will Clark with an Orioles jersey bearing the No. 2000 on the back to commemorate his 2,000th career hit Tuesday.

Pub Date: 6/17/99

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