Energized Ripken makes good on vow to sit out after return

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Day after brings `soreness, but it's a good soreness'

Garcia to fill in for Mora

September 03, 2000|By Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko | Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND - On the second day, Cal Ripken rested.

Ripken said he was energized by Friday night's return from the disabled list but followed through on a promise to himself yesterday to abstain from a second consecutive game. Instead of serving as designated hitter, Ripken watched the Orioles' 8-6 win.

"There was a temptation to play today, but I'm not going to give into it," Ripken said after a lengthy autograph session before the game. "You make a plan and you stick to it."

Ripken, who went 1-for-3 Friday against Cleveland, said he could tell when he awoke yesterday that he had pushed himself after two months on the disabled list with lower back pain.

"I felt good playing the game last night but I was wondering," he said. "Actually, there is a soreness, but it's a good soreness."

Ripken didn't have to slide and his only extended sprint came on a deep fly ball that was caught by right fielder Manny Ramirez. His back remained loose enough for him to take three at-bats rather than the two he and manager Mike Hargrove initially agreed upon.

"Nothing can simulate the speed of what happens in the game, even if you don't have a real strenuous game," said Ripken. "You've got to be ready all at once. There's a different type of intensity and there's a little soreness from that."

He is expected back in today's lineup as designated hitter but would not rule out playing third base in an upcoming three-game series in Minnesota.

Mora hobbled, Garcia gets call

Unsure how long Melvin Mora will be unavailable, the Orioles hastened shortstop Jesus Garcia's recall from Triple-A Rochester.

Mora strained his left hamstring while charging a high chopper from Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel during the seventh inning of Friday's 5-2 loss. Though noting improvement in the leg yesterday, Mora could miss significant time.

"The last step I made, I felt it pull, like something was breaking in there. That's the first time it's ever happened to me," Mora said.

"When I came out of the game, there was more and more pain. But it felt better in the morning after putting ice on it. I'll be fine. Maybe two or three more days."

Hargrove didn't sound as optimistic.

"I don't know how long it will be," he said. "With hamstrings you never can tell. They're tough to go by. He's an offensive force and you miss people like that."

Garcia flew into Cleveland from Rochester. He originally was supposed to join the club in Minnesota on Tuesday, along with pitchers John Parrish and Luis Rivera, catcher Willie Morales and infielders Ryan Minor and Ivanon Coffie. He began the season with the Orioles, appearing in only four games and going 0-for-11 before being optioned on April 28.

"He gives us some insurance at shortstop. With Mora being down and being able to expand the roster, it just makes sense to do it now," Hargrove said.

Garcia had made the club as a utility infielder after batting .326 with nine RBIs in 24 spring training games. Strong defensively at shortstop and second base, he lacks experience at third, putting him at a disadvantage with Mark Lewis, who signed with the Orioles two days before Garcia's demotion.

He played almost exclusively at shortstop with Rochester this season, making a few starts at second but none at third.

"I know I can play there," he said.

For a while, it appeared the door had closed on his chances of returning to the majors this season. His average was down, and so were his spirits. He even served a brief suspension, imposed by the Orioles, after confronting Rochester's official scorer in the press box.

"When you get sent down, you figure you're going to be the first one called up, but it didn't work out that way," he said. "I hit well this spring and I guess I was a little disappointed when I got sent down. You never know if those things have to do with your performance or what, but I wouldn't give up. If I was going to go down, I was going to go down battling."

Stiffness sidelines Myers

Reserve catcher Greg Myers, who usually starts a day game after a night game to provide rest for starter Brook Fordyce, was replaced in the lineup by recent call-up Fernando Lunar because of some back stiffness.

Hargrove said the discomfort surfaced while Myers was taking batting practice Thursday.

Around the horn

Mike Mussina, who has left his past two starts because of tightness in his groin, threw on the side yesterday without discomfort. ... Hargrove has switched his uniform number from 30 to 21, which he wore as a player. ... Manny Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 17 games, one shy of his career high. ... If Kenny Lofton scores today he will tie the big-league record of 18 straight games.

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