Cool Surhoff weathers return to hot corner


Versatile veteran adapts

Anderson hobbles on

August 04, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

OAKLAND, Calif. -- With Ryan Minor unable to join the Orioles until late in the afternoon, B. J. Surhoff made another start at third base last night in place of Cal Ripken, who returned to the disabled list yesterday.

Surhoff had started 106 games at third in 1996, but made only three appearances there the next season after Ripken moved over from shortstop. The first two balls of Monday night's game were hit to him, and he handled both chances cleanly.

"I felt all right," he said after his first start at third since Aug. 29, 1996, just before Todd Zeile was acquired. "Getting the first ball helped me. They were fairly routine plays. The first one wasn't real smooth, but I got it. After that I felt OK."

Manager Ray Miller again had Jeff Conine in left field, with the intention of putting Surhoff there in the later innings and moving Conine to first base for Will Clark, who is playing with a sore right ankle.

"B. J.'s an athlete. You put him on the mound and he'd be all right. He can catch, he can play anywhere on the field," Miller said.

Minor's flight wasn't scheduled to arrive in Oakland until around 5: 30 p.m. Pacific time. Miller said he's leaning toward giving Minor regular time at third, as he did when Ripken missed five games last month after being hit on the right wrist by a pitch.

Minor went 1-for-10 in four games before being returned to Triple-A Rochester, where he was hitting .256 in 101 games, with 24 doubles, 21 homers and 67 RBIs.

Anderson hobbles on

Center fielder Brady Anderson played his second straight game after missing the Seattle series to rest a sore left ankle.

Anderson, who went 2-for-5 last night, said he'd continue playing no matter how the ankle felt. He wouldn't comment on his condition yesterday, but Miller noted that Anderson's range is limited.

"Brady's not moving real good," Miller said. "I don't think he's 100 percent. At home, it's not as much of a factor because it's a smaller ballpark, but in Seattle and here it's a factor. Obviously Brady's not moving as well as he can, but it's something we've got to deal with."

Anderson suffered the injury when he rammed his left foot into the padded fence while chasing a home run by Zeile last Wednesday.

Miller conceded that he has little choice except to play Anderson, especially with Ripken on the DL.

"It's not like we have a whole lot of options," he said. "Rich [Amaral] played three days in Seattle and looked like the ice man walking by here. He had ice strapped to everything on his body. And I definitely need [Anderson's] bat."

Belle field study

Miller played assignment editor with reporters yesterday, suggesting they leave the press box around the sixth inning and sit in the right-field seats to hear the taunts Albert Belle is subjected to on a regular basis.

They're more audible here than in many ballparks because the crowds are so sparse.

"I know the guy doesn't do much to ward it off, but it's got to be mind-boggling to put up with what Albert puts up with," Miller said. "You hear everything from racial [comments] to personal threats, all kinds of things.

"I was sitting next to [pitching coach] Bruce Kison and I said, `It would be sort of like me flicking you in the ear every five seconds. After a while you'd want to grab the hand and break it or lose your mind.'

"I hear it everywhere. It's relentless."

Pitching economics 101

Though Arthur Rhodes turned in 2 1/3 hitless innings Monday, his longest outing without allowing a run this season, he needed 49 pitches to do it. Miller was hopeful that by not using him last night, he'd have Rhodes available for today's series finale.

"He didn't throw that poorly. He just went 3-2 on a lot of people," Miller said.

"If I did use him for a hitter tonight, he'd be completely wiped out for tomorrow. If I don't use him today, I might be able to get one or two hitters out of him tomorrow."

Rhodes walked three batters Monday, giving him 37 in 45 2/3 innings.

"Arthur's trying hard," Miller said. "He's got a good arm, but the walks-per-inning is high. And he came into spring training in the best shape of his life.

"When you throw that many pitches and you're 3-2 on everybody and you have a high amount of walks, it backs you off from using the guy late in a ballgame."

General manager Frank Wren attempted to trade Rhodes to New York before Saturday's waiver deadline but couldn't complete the deal because the Yankees refused to part with prized minor-league shortstop D'Angelo Jimenez.

PR director joins 'Skins

John Maroon, in his fifth season as the Orioles' director of media relations, resigned yesterday to accept the position of vice president of public and community relations with the Washington Redskins.

Maroon will visit the team's training camp site in Frostburg this weekend and then return to Baltimore.

"I'll start with the Redskins when the Orioles' organization is comfortable that everything is settled," he said.

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