Getting ejected is out of line for regretful Hairston

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Striving to calm temper, he makes a wrong turn

Clark gets 3 more hits

July 21, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Jerry Hairston wanted to go an entire season without having a serious confrontation with an umpire. He wanted to make it through a 162-game schedule without any ejections.

He already has two, and both sting far worse than any bad-hop grounder.

The Orioles' second baseman was tossed from Friday's game in the second inning after a heated exchange with umpire Joe West. Hairston was tagged out by Chicago's Paul Konerko after crossing first base on a throwing error and turning toward second. Hairston didn't believe he made a motion to advance, but West saw the play differently and got the final word.

"I regret getting thrown out," said Hairston, who was tossed earlier this season for arguing a strike call. "This is the second time. Hopefully it'll be the last. But obviously I thought I was right, and Joe West thought he was right. It's just something I want to put behind me.

"As God is my witness, I've never cussed an umpire. I'll talk to umpires. But I've worked on it. I've gotten 10 times better."

Hairston didn't realize the ball was overthrown because his head was down as he crossed the bag. "I was bracing myself for a collision," he said. "I saw the ball and I did flinch. Did I make a move toward second base? I'll let you guys see it."

Ruled out on the play, Hairston said he was "stunned." Then he became livid, causing first base coach Rick Dempsey to wrap both arms around him.

"Jerry is very spontaneous and animated, and that's not all bad," manager Mike Hargrove said. "I don't think Jerry's intention was to get kicked out of the game. He's a young player and very competitive. There are a lot of good things there. Jerry just needs to channel that a bit."

R. Lopez a stopper?

Rodrigo Lopez is 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA when pitching after an Orioles loss. Does this qualify him as a stopper in his rookie season?

Hargrove doesn't think so -- at least not yet.

"It's a big term," he said. "Rodrigo has pitched very well for us, but for anybody to be considered a stopper, he needs to pitch well for a longer period of time. So far he is going down the right road, but when I think of stopper, I think of Jim Palmer and people like that."

Steady Clark rolls on

Except for the day he arrived at Camden Yards from the airport, his cab taking a longer route and causing him to show up late, Howie Clark has been in the lineup for every game since the Orioles purchased his contract from Triple-A Rochester on Monday.

He remained the regular designated hitter last night, making his fifth consecutive start. So much for getting a taste of the majors. It's been more than a mouthful.

"When I got called up, it was something that caught me so off-guard," he said. "And to be in the lineup consecutively is great. It keeps me in a rhythm. ...

"I'm not going to try to put any pressure on myself. I'm just going to try to take it at-bat for at-bat in whatever the situation calls for. I'm trying to do the same things I've done for years and years. In the minor leagues, that's what you're developed to do. I guess the simpler you keep things, the easier it is to perform."

Clark began the night batting .400, with two multi-hit games in his first four starts. He had three more hits last night, including an RBI double. He's faced some familiar pitchers despite never having been in the majors before, recognizing Toronto's Roy Halladay and Chicago's Jon Garland.

"The good thing is I've faced a couple of these guys before," he said. "I faced Halladay in the minor leagues and I guess that takes some of the pressure off. He's an All-Star and he has great stuff, but I try not to think about him being an All-Star. The fact of the matter is, you get a pitch to hit, you better hit it."

Around the horn

Before the game, shortstop Mike Bordick played catch with strength and conditioning coach Tim Bishop while wearing a brace to immobilize his right leg. Bordick suffered a hairline fracture of his kneecap Monday against Seattle and must wear the brace for three weeks. ... Chicago has been outscored 92-48 in the third inning. ... The Orioles turned two double plays, increasing their AL-leading total to 113. ... The first 10,000 kids entering Camden Yards for Tuesday's game against Toronto will receive a Majestic Fun Bird Bobblehead doll.

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