Anderson to rest leg, until Martinez arrives

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Strained quad, ball off back by Red Sox ace force him out

Miller is still fuming

September 29, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Though unwilling to estimate a number of games, Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson said yesterday that he'll be out "for a while" because of a strained right quadriceps.

Asked if he might be finished for the season, which has five games remaining after last night's 9-5 loss, Anderson said, "I don't know. It depends if Pedro [Martinez] pitches again."

"I'm sure it'll be a couple of days," said manager Ray Miller. "He might be able to come off the bench."

Anderson served as the designated hitter in Boston on Monday because he wanted to face Martinez, a lock to win the league's Cy Young Award and a contender for Most Valuable Player. Anderson doubled twice, limping as he went into second base, but didn't appear as restricted when tagging up and going to third in the eighth inning.

"I wanted to play no matter what because he was pitching. Ordinarily I would have given my quad a little longer, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity," he said.

"I don't think it will take too long to get better, but I don't want to injure it worse."

Anderson injured the leg during Sunday's game in Boston. He was hit on the hamstring by a Tim Wakefield fastball, then experienced discomfort after going from first to third and sliding hard into the bag. He was removed for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.

Anderson will get his chance to see Martinez again when the Orioles conclude their season with a three-game series against the Red Sox at Camden Yards. Martinez's next turn normally would be Saturday, but he might pitch on Friday to provide enough rest before opening the playoffs on Wednesday. He'd most likely work only a few innings against the Orioles.

As if the leg isn't enough of a hindrance, Anderson also must deal with the after-effects of being drilled in the upper back by a Martinez fastball. Anderson, who leads the league by being hit 24 times this season, said he had trouble raising his arm after the fifth inning but stayed in the game for one more at-bat against Martinez.

"I asked [trainer] Richie Bancells and he said it hit on a nerve. It kind of made my arm go numb a little bit," Anderson said.

"I don't want to make Pedro feel too good, but it's still a little sore. That was a good hit. I get hit a lot so I know the difference."

The ailments have impeded the closing of a productive season for Anderson, who's batting .287 with 24 homers and 81 RBIs. His .410 on-base percentage leads the club, and his 96 walks are second to Albert Belle's 99. Anderson also has a .486 slugging percentage, and he's 35-for-42 in stolen bases.

"I think it's my second-best year," he said, deferring to his 50-homer, 110-RBI season in 1996.

The 1996 season, when he batted .297, was the closest Anderson has come to hitting .300. "How I judge myself has more to do with on-base average and slugging average. Hitting .300 is a good achievement, but given the choice I'd rather hit .280 with a .400 on-base average than hit .300 with a .350 on-base average," he said.

"I have a lot of admiration for the guys who hit .300 because you can't have any breaks in the season where you don't hit that well. You have to hit the ball hard about three times a night."

And avoid Martinez fastballs heading for your number.

Anderson exchanged words with Martinez near home plate after scoring on a passed ball in the eighth inning. Both benches and bullpens emptied.

"I'm not mad at him. That's part of the game," Anderson said.

Miller wasn't nearly as calm on Monday, accusing Martinez of hitting Anderson on purpose and launching into a profanity-laced tirade that included calling the Boston right-hander "a skinny little ----."

"It's nice that he's stuck up for me," Anderson said.

Still peeved by Martinez

Miller didn't back off his comments about Martinez, who developed a reputation in the National League for throwing at hitters. Miller saw it often while serving as pitching coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He claimed yesterday that former third baseman Jeff King once doubled off Martinez to give the Pirates the lead, then was nailed in the head the next time he came to the plate.

"Every game I've been involved in, he's done something," Miller said.

Some Red Sox took exception to Al Reyes hitting shortstop Nomar Garciaparra on the wrist during Saturday's game. Garciaparra had to sit out Monday's game.

"Garciaparra got hit in the middle of his swing," Miller said.

Though still fuming over Anderson being hit, Miller said he'll let the matter drop rather than contact the league office. "There's not much you can do," he said.

Anderson was the eighth batter Martinez has hit this year. Scott Erickson leads the Orioles, hitting 11 batters.

Wild Riley may sit

Rookie Matt Riley may have to wait until next year to get his first major-league win. His scheduled start tomorrow against New York is in doubt after the left-hander exhibited poor control during a bullpen session in Boston before Monday's game.

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