Hargrove plays both Ripken, Kinkade

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Manager changes mind about sitting veteran

Bordick hits 3rd in order

April 20, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Cal Ripken isn't the only Oriole who has changed his stance. His manager did the same yesterday by returning him to the lineup.

Mike Hargrove indicated Wednesday that he probably would keep Ripken on the bench for a second straight game after starting Mike Kinkade at third base that night. But Kinkade moved to left field yesterday, with Ripken taking his usual position rather than taking up space in the dugout.

"I said it could be two. But what I wanted to do was get Kinkade some at-bats in a row, as much as anything," Hargrove said.

With left-hander C. C. Sabathia, opposing his club, Hargrove stacked the lineup with right-handed hitters. His bench included four left-handed bats. It didn't include Ripken, who said he never spoke to Hargrove about his possible exclusion from the lineup.

"Grover is the manager and he makes those kinds of decisions," Ripken said.

"I think in the big picture it's good to stay fresh and have certain off days. ... But I feel pretty good at the plate. I'm starting to feel like I'm putting some at-bats together. I'm looking forward to keeping that going."

He did, going 1-for-3 with a walk, his double representing his second extra-base hit in 45 plate appearances. Raising a .140 average only can happen if he continues to accumulate at-bats after being limited to 25 in spring training because of a fractured rib.

"You're trying to make everything up in a short period of time, and the way you correct your problems, whether it's pitching or hitting, is between the white lines," he said.

Hargrove said he has noticed that Ripken's bat is quicker than a week ago. That showed in the second inning yesterday when Ripken yanked his double down the left-field line. "It looks like he's getting closer to being on some pitches," Hargrove said, adding that no conversations have taken place regarding Ripken's progress.

"Cal is obviously a veteran player who's played a lot of games and had a lot of at-bats. There's no sense filling the air with useless chatter," he said. "I ask him how he's feeling and he says he's fine. He's energetic. I'm not real worried about Cal."

Team meeting

Hargrove conducted a team meeting after Wednesday's loss, keeping the clubhouse closed to the media for about 15 minutes. Included among the subjects was the pop-up that fell between shortstop Mike Bordick and third baseman Kinkade and led to two runs.

Pitcher Pat Hentgen, directing traffic, yelled for "Mike" to make the play. Just his luck that the two infielders pursuing the ball shared the same first name. Kinkade, who had called for it, backed off and couldn't recover in time.

"It was a very general meeting, touching on everything," Hargrove said. "People will say, `Well, the missed pop-up triggered the thing.' Well, it didn't. It was just that the way it came about was so unusual. I don't know that I've ever run across that one before."

Now batting 3rd, Mike Bordick

The latest Orioles lineup included Bordick batting third for the only time in his major-league career, which began in 1990.

Jerry Hairston batted ninth in all 15 games before moving up to second, where Bordick had hit every game before taking Delino DeShields' spot yesterday. Melvin Mora was dropped to the bottom of the order.

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