Orioles' ups and downs

June 18, 2000|By JOE STRAUSS

Matt Riley -- DOWN -- The Orioles' prodigal son is in Bowie, in the bullpen and in a season-long funk. Is he paying the price for too many innings last season or too few this spring?

Alan Mills -- UP -- He was too expensive after the '98 season at $6.5 million for three years. Now that the Dodgers will pay one-third of his $5.25 million the next two seasons, Mills again fits a bullpen that hadn't been right since his departure.

The Rapper -- EVEN -- No. 4 starter Pat Rapp is struggling on the mound, but he nailed inconsistent local scorekeeping Wednesday night. "I'm not one to gripe," griped Rapp. "But I'm just trying to figure out what game they're watching. ... It's good for our hitters; it's not good for our pitchers. Flip a coin - heads, it's a hit; tails, it's a hit."

Decision time -- UP -- It's time for the Orioles to decide their next move with Mike Mussina. If he can't be signed, Scott Erickson must stay. But at least return John Hart's call.

A-bomb -- UP -- Albert Belle entered yesterday with 20 RBIs for the first seven games of the homestand. 'Nuf said.

Jason Johnson -- DOWN -- Provoked criticism from his manager after complaining about a temporary reassignment to the bullpen. Sure, it's inconvenient and his spring training option remains a sore memory. But it's time to deal, whatever the role.

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