Roberts, then Giambi lose control in opener

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Wild reliever hits Yankee, who voices displeasure

September 11, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Orioles reliever Willis Roberts lost his mechanics yesterday, and Jason Giambi almost lost his temper.

Roberts hit Giambi in the eighth inning of Game 1 of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, causing plate umpire Sam Holbrook to warn both dugouts.

Giambi had to rear back to avoid Roberts' first pitch that was tailing inside. The next one nailed him on the right arm, and Giambi directed a few choice words at Roberts as he walked to first base.

"I was trying to throw the ball inside and down. It's not my fault. I don't know what he was thinking. I don't want to hit nobody," said Roberts, who got a visit from coach Mark Wiley.

"[Giambi] told me something bad, but I don't listen, I don't care. It's my job. If he wants to come to the mound, I'm not afraid."

Giambi said: "Let me hit you with a 95-mph fastball and see how you react."

Manager Mike Hargrove stood on the mound after Roberts threw two wild pitches. A third wild pitch, from Yorkis Perez, allowed pinch runner Drew Henson to score.

"My shoulder was a little bit open," Roberts said, explaining his breakdown in mechanics. "My body was in front and my arm was in back. I don't know why. I feel good."

Mora, Roberts appeals due

Roberts and Melvin Mora will have their appeals heard tomorrow stemming from a July 28 brawl at Fenway Park.

Roberts was suspended seven games and Mora four after both benches and bullpens emptied. Baseball officials were preoccupied with the labor negotiations last month, which delayed the hearings until the Orioles returned to Yankee Stadium.

Erickson in holding pattern

The doubleheader passed yesterday without Scott Erickson making an appearance, and his low profile with the Orioles isn't expected to change in the final three weeks.

Hargrove indicated yesterday that Erickson won't pitch again this season unless he's needed in an emergency.

"We're going to try to stay away from him if we can," Hargrove said, "but if we have to use him, we will. He's available."

Erickson left the rotation after an Aug. 31 start in Anaheim that lasted only 1 1/3 innings. He's thrown 160 2/3 innings in his first season after having ligament-transplant surgery.

"We want to get him regrouped and ready for next year," Hargrove said.

Six-man rotation

Hargrove wants to use a six-man rotation while attempting to keep Rodrigo Lopez fresh as he completes his rookie season.

The plan calls for Lopez, Jason Johnson, Sidney Ponson, John Stephens, Sean Douglass and Pat Hentgen to make the remaining starts. Lopez, who has lost three of his past four decisions, leads the team with 180 1/3 innings. He estimated that he threw 130 in winter ball.

9/11 auction raises $18,000

The Orioles' silent auction on Sunday raised $18,000 for the Maryland Survivors Scholarship Fund for the 45 children and dependents of state residents killed on Sept. 11.

A Cal Ripken-autographed No. 8 base used on Oct. 1 brought $4,100 and an autographed Earl Weaver jersey worn at Ripken's final game went for $1,825.

The online auction for jerseys the team will wear tonight begins at 6 p.m. and runs until Sept. 22 at www.theorioles.com.

Around the horn

Tony Batista's home run in the ninth inning of Game 1 was his 29th this season, breaking the club record for third basemen. ... The Orioles brought catcher Raul Casanova to New York but haven't decided whether to sign him. ... Gary Matthews took batting practice while remaining on the disabled list.

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