Camden Yard leaves Williams wincing

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Injuries to Garciaparra, Everett add to heat load when manager reflects

May 13, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Now, Boston Red Sox manager Jimy Williams has three reasons to dislike Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Williams and the Red Sox had just settled into the park Thursday night for their first visit of the 2000 season when two of Boston's hottest hitters pulled up lame in running to first base.

Cleanup hitter Nomar Garciaparra was the first to go down, suffering a strained left hamstring hustling to first in the first inning base to avoid being doubled up on a bases-loaded grounder that forced Brian Daubach at second base."I knew it was pretty serious the moment it happened," said Garciaparra, who came out of the game after the top of the inning.

Garciaparra was right.

The injury was serious enough to send last year's American League batting champion and All-Star Game starting shortstop to the 15-day disabled list. He was replaced on the Red Sox' roster by Donnie Sadler, who started last night.

Garciaparra was hitting .346 with 19 RBIs before the injury, after winning the batting title last season with a .357 mark."I aggravated it [hamstring] last week and that was mild compared to this," said Garciaparra. "There's a lot of pain. It's very disappointing, but I've been bothered with hamstring pulls all my life. I'll just have to work through it and be ready to play when I come back."

Then, after Garciaparra went down, center fielder Carl Everett hurt his right quadriceps running to first in the ninth inning. The injury marred a 3-for-4 evening for Everett in which he hit a two-run homer and drove in four runs.

Everett was originally in the Boston lineup last night as a designated hitter, but was pulled from the lineup and is now listed as day-to-day. Williams did say Everett was available for pinch-hitting duty last night, if necessary.

Everett is hitting .336 with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs.

Williams searched hard to find a possible cause for losing two players to leg injuries on the same night."They both have thick legs and play hard all the time," said the manager."That's the only way I know how to play," said Garciaparra. "And I'm not going to change."

So just what might be the first reason the manager has for not being too fond of Camden Yards?"I spent the hottest day of my life in Baltimore when I pitched two rounds of batting practice in an All-Star Game here," said Williams of the July 13, 1993, game that was won by the American League, 9-3. "That heat was unbelievable. It was almost unbearable."

Williams was a coach for National League manager Bobby Cox in that game, made memorable by AL manager Cito Gaston's failure to use Mike Mussina.

Home with O's

Imagine the thousands of Orioles memories that can be shared every time bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks picks up Joe Durham at his Randallstown home and the two men drive to Camden Yards for a game.

Hendricks has spent a club-record 32 years in an Orioles uniform and Durham, now retired, racked up 38 years as an Orioles player, batting-practice pitcher, minor-league instructor, front-office worker and scout.

Hendricks, 59, drove Durham, 68, to last night's game and Durham watched sadly as Pedro Martinez mowed down the home team on 15 strikeouts and two hits.

It was Durham's fifth trip to the Yard this season because, "I just love watching baseball. I like it better when the Orioles win."

Durham played six years, pitched BP 21 years, was a minor-league instructor seven years, worked in the front office three seasons and was a scout one year."I still do a little public relations," said Durham who was a right fielder for the team and never made more than $12,500 a year, even though he once hit .318.

Durham said he never dreamed that baseball players would be able to command multimillion-dollar contracts."I'm not bitter," said Durham. "Time has a way of taking care of everything. I was born too soon."

Johnson recalls Walter

Orioles catcher Charles Johnson's face broke into a wide grin last night at the mere mention of Arundel High's highly successful baseball coach, Bernie Walter. Johnson was the starting catcher for the U.S. national team in the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, a squad that was coached by Walter."Bernie was a quite a motivator," said Johnson. "That's the one thing I'll always remember about him. He was also a stickler for details. I'm so happy to hear he's doing OK after his bypass surgery. He's a great guy."

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