Tejada takes throw to face, is OK


`Your heart pounds,' Mazzilli says of scare

4 O's plunked in series


April 30, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Leading by six runs in the eighth inning yesterday, the Orioles couldn't relax. Not with their starting shortstop lying in the dirt beside second base.

Miguel Tejada was hit below the left eye by a throw from first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who was attempting to get a forceout after fielding a grounder from Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

The ball skipped off Randy Winn's batting helmet before slamming into Tejada's face and rolling to the outfield.

Winn raced home, and Palmeiro was charged with an error, reducing the Orioles' lead to 9-3.

Trainer Richie Bancells sprinted out of the dugout to check on Tejada, and manager Lee Mazzilli soon followed. Players gathered around Tejada, who had two more hits yesterday to leave his average at .337.

"Your heart pounds," Mazzilli said after the 9-5 victory. "It's one of those plays where there's nothing you can do."

With a small cut on his cheek but no swelling, Tejada walked off the field and went into the trainer's room. He smiled and waved to the crowd before getting an X-ray that came back negative.

"The only thing I saw was the ball hitting the helmet," he said.

"I tried to put my glove in front of me, but I had no chance to do it in time."

Tejada appeared in his 614th consecutive game yesterday, the longest current streak in the majors. He's expected to play tonight in Cleveland.

"I feel fine," he said. "I don't feel sore."

Second baseman Brian Roberts had an up-close view of the play and feared the worst.

"There's nothing you can do when it hits the runner and ricochets off," Roberts said. "There's no time to react. We were fortunate that where it hit him, there wasn't more damage. When somebody goes down like that, it never looks good."

Bruising series

If the Orioles are considering another uniform redesign next season, they might want to exclude the bull's eye.

The Orioles were hit four times by Seattle pitchers in the series, though they got away unscathed yesterday, and other batters had to dive into the dirt to avoid contact.

Tejada was nailed twice during Tuesday's game, and B.J. Surhoff also became a target in the ninth inning.

Former Oriole Jamie Moyer hit Jay Gibbons on the right hand in the first inning of Wednesday's game, and Kurt Ainsworth nailed John Olerud in the second. But the Orioles believe each incident was clean.

"I just think they're trying to throw inside. I don't think it's intentional," said Larry Bigbie, whose quick reflexes prevented him from being hit in the face by a Ron Villone pitch Tuesday.

"Maybe they have a scouting report that says they should throw inside to certain guys. They try to get it in there, and you'd rather get it in than leave it over the plate."

Mazzilli agreed with the scouting report theory, figuring that the Orioles' impressive start might have altered the way pitchers approached them.

"Absolutely," he said. "Just like we have our reports on how we want to pitch certain guys."

The Orioles have been hit 12 times this season, four more than their opponents. Bigbie doesn't condone any retaliation from his pitchers.

"I don't think we need to do that," he said. "That wouldn't be good baseball."

A tip from Riley?

Left-hander Matt Riley indicated after Tuesday's loss that he might have been tipping his pitches while racking up 93 of them in three-plus innings against the Mariners. But Mazzilli isn't convinced.

"This is the first I've heard of it," he said. "If he felt he was tipping them, he better change it up for his next start."

Riley noticed that he's falling off the mound while completing his delivery.

Paradis demoted

Mike Paradis, the 13th selection in the 1999 draft, has been reassigned to Single-A short-season Aberdeen after posting a 14.81 ERA in seven games at Triple-A Ottawa. He'll report to extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla., before the IronBirds begin their season in June.

The Orioles converted Paradis to a reliever after he made 78 starts over three seasons at Double-A Bowie. He's allowed 17 earned runs and 19 hits in 10 1/3 innings, walking 16 and striking out seven. He gave up nine straight hits in Tuesday's 16-1 loss to Pawtucket.

Paradis is 29-47 since the Orioles drafted him out of Clemson.

Around the horn

Reliever B.J. Ryan's scoreless innings streak ended at 12 yesterday when Seattle pushed across three runs (two earned) in the eighth, the first coming on Palmeiro's throwing error. ... Ernie Tyler, who's been the umpires attendant since 1960, celebrated his 80th birthday yesterday. The team surprised him with a cake before the game.

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