Orioles 3, Expos 2

March 22, 2001|By Roch Kubatko

Rating the players

****

Jason Johnson: The Orioles won't say it, so we will: He's in the rotation.

Willie Harris: Drives in the winning run in the ninth during another cameo appearance. He's young, but he already understands the importance of keeping exhibition games from going extra innings. He's been taught well.

Mike Trombley: Two strikeouts in his only inning, and gets credited with the win.

***

Brady Anderson: He's producing from the leadoff spot and running very well. Anderson's fewer than two weeks away from making it through a spring training without an injury. When's the last time that happened?

Brian Roberts: The Orioles understand that he'd benefit more from playing every day in the minors. If only Roberts would stop planting ideas in their heads. He's looking better every game.

**

Mike Kinkade: Hits into double plays his first two at-bats, then doubles into shallow right field and throws out a runner from left. Nice recovery.

The arms

Johnson produced another gem despite not having his curveball. Manager Mike Hargrove speculated that Johnson had "a little bit of a dead arm." But without his best stuff, he still limited the Expos to a bases-empty home run by Peter Bergeron in the sixth. He allowed five hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter. Alan Mills allowed a run and two hits in his first spring inning, but the RBI single was a cheapie. Most important, Mills said his shoulder felt good. The Expos got two singles off Calvin Maduro in the eighth without scoring, and went down quietly against Trombley in the ninth.

The bats

The only Oriole with more than one hit was Roberts (two), who continues to receive consideration for a utility job. He doubled with two outs in the second, when the Orioles loaded the bases without scoring. Anderson led off the first with a home run. Melvin Mora gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the fourth after Jay Gibbons singled, stole second and moved up on a throwing error by catcher Michael Barrett. Harris singled to right with two outs in the ninth to score pinch runner Jerry Hairston. Greg Myers ignited the rally with a broken-bat single.

The rest

Hargrove still is committed to taking 12 pitchers north rather than having an extra position player. He'll need a fifth starter on April 8. "We've looked at it 15 ways from Sunday trying to figure out a way that we'd only need 11 pitchers, or even 10, but the hoops you have to jump through doesn't make it worth the effort," he said.

The quote

"I could state the obvious, but I'm going to hold off until I announce the whole thing." - Hargrove on whether Johnson has cracked the rotation.

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