Ripken's drop to 7th in order `no big deal'


Hargrove: Move not due to Opening Day 0-for-4

April 05, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove made a few subtle changes last night to the lineup that produced a win on Opening Day.

Though all the names remained the same, he moved Brady Anderson from right field to left and used Delino DeShields as designated hitter, with Chris Richard going to right. Hargrove also moved up Melvin Mora to sixth in the batting order and lowered Cal Ripken to seventh against Boston starter Hideo Nomo.

Limited to eight games because of a fractured rib, Ripken went 3-for-25 with three RBIs in spring training before going hitless in four at-bats during Monday's opener.

I just felt like Cal, right now, would be a little more comfortable hitting seventh. It's no big deal. You' wouldn't even ask me if it was somebody else," Hargrove said.

"Hopefully, in two or three days he'll be hitting sixth again, or fifth. We'll see."

Ripken bounced out three times against Pedro Martinez on Monday before taking a called third strike leading off the 10th inning against reliever Derek Lowe.

"Moving him to seventh has nothing to do with what he did Monday," Hargrove said.

Ripken's timing at the plate seemed to be returning the last few exhibition games, and Hargrove said the third baseman's "not far" from being able to drive the ball consistently.

He swung the bat well the last couple days of spring training, during batting practice and during games. So I don't see him that far," Hargrove said.

Pride of Aberdeen

Ripken spent Tuesday's day off with his family attending a ceremony at Aberdeen High School that included the renaming of its baseball field, where he once played, in honor of his father.

Ripken, his mother Vi, brothers Bill and Fred and sister Ellen threw out ceremonial first pitches on Cal Ripken Sr. Field before Aberdeen's game against Bel Air.

"It made me think back to my own days in that ballpark," Ripken said. "The kind of person my dad was, if it rained and it was muddy, he'd be out there raking. He'd put a lawn mower in the car and go up there and cut it if he had to.

"He was from Aberdeen; he went to school in Aberdeen. It's symbolic of his roots, our roots. I think he'd be very proud."

Reading with First Lady

Shortstop Mike Bordick found a unique way to spend his day off- sharing a book with First Lady Laura Bush at the Northeast Neighborhood Library in Washington.

They took turns reciting lines from "I Took My Frog to the City" as part of a promotion that encourages children to visit their local library. It was a joint venture between the American Library Association and Major League Baseball.

"It was a great event," Bordick said. "Laura Bush obviously put an extra kick into it. She's very influential. She was very nice, a very down-to-earth person."

Bordick and the first lady found they had a few things in common. Both are parents to twins Bordick's sons will turn 6 next week - and both make frequent visits to Maine, where Bordick was born and attended college.

"We had a little bit to talk about there," he said. "It was a neat experience. I don't know if my kids will appreciate it until down the road but it was something special."

Bordick said there was more hoopla attached to Opening Day but Tuesday's meeting with the First Lady had its own special mood. "It's always a little more intense when the Secret Service is around."

Hargrove 'handcuffed'

Hargrove conceded that he's "handcuffed a little" when it comes to pinch hitting for certain players because the club lacks a backup middle infielder.

The decision not to keep Brian Roberts on the 25-man roster most impacts center fielder Melvin Mora, who will be used as a replacement at shortstop and second base if Bordick or Jerry Hairston is removed from a game.

"The last thing I want to do is start moving guys around to make up for roles of other people. But that's one of those things that going into this, we know we have that in front of us and if we get to a spot that we need to pinch hit, we'll do that and adjust from there," Hargrove said.

"It's certainly an obstacle. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. So I'll say it is and pretend like it's not."

Red Sox's Bichette unhappy

Unhappy in a platoon role, Boston's Dante Bichette is seeking a trade that will allow him to regain his status as a full-time outfielder or designated hitter.

Bichette's agent, Ron Shapiro, relayed Bichette's request to Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette on Tuesday. Manager Jimy Williams intends to use left-handed hitting Scott Hatteberg as his DH against right-handed pitching once Manny Ramirez recovers from a hamstring injury and returns to the outfield.

"Did I go in there and request a trade? No, I didn't," said Bichette, 37. "Did my agent? I know I told my agent to do what's best for my career and I've got to play. And I'd say at my age, I can't afford to take a year off."

Bichette has averaged 28 homers and 114 RBIs the past eight seasons, including seven with the Colorado Rockies. He had 23 homers and 90 RBIs last season for the Cincinnati Reds and Boston.

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