O's rainout costs Mussina a start, Belle a home run

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Day-night doubleheader set for today

Kohlmeier stunned by recall

July 29, 2000|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Last night's Orioles-Cleveland Indians game at Camden Yards was postponed after nearly a two-hour rain delay, forcing the teams to play a day-night doubleheader today at 1:15 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.

The rainout wasted a turn for Mike Mussina, who trailed 4-3 when umpires halted play in the fourth inning.

Because Mussina threw only 72 pitches, his next start has been moved up from Wednesday to Tuesday against Minnesota.

"That's no big deal. We've talked about it and he's agreeable to that," manager Mike Hargrove said.

The rain also extended Albert Belle's home run drought. He connected in the first inning off Dave Burba to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead, but none of the statistics count from last night. That means Belle still hasn't homered since June 29 in Boston, a career-high stretch of 24 games and 99 at-bats.

Today Pat Rapp will oppose Jason Bere in the first game. Jose Mercedes, placed back into the rotation after Scott Erickson went on the disabled list, will oppose Steve Woodard in the second game. Bere and Woodard were acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers yesterday.

Tickets from last night's game will be honored for the second game of the doubleheader.

Kohlmeier makes jump

Reliever Ryan Kohlmeier wasn't expecting his opportunity to come so soon. He wasn't even on the 40-man roster. The Orioles cleared room by designating pitcher Juan Aracena for assignment.

Aracena, 23, was acquired from the Cleveland Indians along with pitcher Jimmy Hamilton on Aug. 27, 1999, for Harold Baines, who re-signed with the Orioles after the season. He had been 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 11 games at Single-A Frederick after being demoted from Double-A Bowie.

Kohlmeier, a 14th-round selection in the 1996 draft, was 1-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 10 saves in 37 games at Rochester. He had become the full-time closer once Gabe Molina rejoined the Orioles.

Hargrove said Kohlmeier, 23, will work in middle relief and help in a setup role.

"I'm really just happy to have the opportunity," Kohlmeier said. "It's extremely exciting. I've never been to this part before. I look forward to trying to do the things I was able to do in Rochester."

Kohlmeier was summoned when Scott Erickson went on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow. He drove here from Rochester, arriving around 1 a.m.

"I hadn't heard anything about Erickson until then," Kohlmeier said. "I thought, 'OK, maybe in September, if I'm lucky, depending on what they planned on doing with me next year. Getting here in July was very surprising."

Kohlmeier had 23 saves at Bowie last season, one short of Molina's club record.

Lewis feeling better

Moving Mark Lewis to the disabled list is retroactive to July 21, a day after he stole third base against the Boston Red Sox and felt a pain in the back of his leg. It ruined what had been one of his most productive games as an Oriole.

Lewis went 2-for-5, including a bases-loaded triple.

"I woke up the next day and it was hurting," he said.

Lewis, batting .244 in 40 games, did some light running in the outfield yesterday while trainer Richie Bancells monitored him. He also took about 30 swings in the cage.

"It didn't bother me, though I didn't run that hard. But it's feeling 100 percent better than what it did, so we're going in the right direction," he said. "I'll be ready to come off [the DL] when Richie lets me know. It's out of my hands."

Hargrove had tired of playing short-handed. Knowing it would remain that way for perhaps another week, the club decided to make the move with Lewis.

"I talked to Richie a couple days ago and he told me that, in his opinion, it was going to be at least five days before Mark was ready," Hargrove said. "We decided it was going to be another five days minimum, which would be 12 or 13 days total anyway. You put him on the DL and backdate it, and he's ready to come off on the 15th day."

Ripken takes grounders

Cal Ripken finally got outside yesterday, taking ground balls near second base for the last five minutes of batting practice after confining his past activities to the indoor batting cage.

Ripken, on the disabled list because of a nerve irritation in his lower back, fielded grounders from coach Sam Perlozzo. He had hoped to hook up with Perlozzo on Tuesday, but decided against it after conducting a baseball clinic earlier in the day. Rain on Wednesday ruined another opportunity.

It's still not known when he'll be ready to rejoin the club. In the meantime, Hargrove can choose among Jeff Conine, Ivanon Coffie and Ryan Minor.

Lofton goes home

On the same day that Richie Sexson was traded to Milwaukee by the Indians, the team lost center fielder Kenny Lofton, who flew home to Chicago after the death of an uncle.

Lofton, who missed last night's game, also will be out for today's nationally televised game.

Around the horn

Luis Matos said his neck still is a little sore after crashing into the center-field fence during Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees, but he's available to play. ... Pitcher Calvin Maduro was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for pitcher Lesli Brea, another of the players acquired from the Mets yesterday. Brea has been assigned to Bowie.

Sun staff writer Bill Free contributed to this article.

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