Villone throws words, not pitch, at Mora

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Mariner directs words at 3rd baseman, last batter he saw before being pulled

Notebook

August 04, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Melvin Mora became a target for Seattle Mariners pitcher Ron Villone in the first game of yesterday's doubleheader. But Villone was firing angry words at him instead of baseballs.

Villone began yelling at Mora, the last batter he faced, as the Orioles' third baseman was warming up before the top of the fifth inning. Villone also directed some of his ire at Sidney Ponson, who motioned back from the dugout.

Given the chance to explain after the game, Villone said it was an on-field matter and wouldn't elaborate.

"He was saying something to Melvin and I just told him to shut the hell up and sit his [butt] down," Ponson said. "It's only 50 feet to first base. If you have something to say, say it. I just laughed at him and told him to go take a shower and calm down, dude."

Villone walked Mora before manager Bob Melvin made a pitching change and tempers began to flare. Mora took a few steps toward the Mariners' dugout after Villone shouted at him, and shortstop Miguel Tejada intervened.

"I don't know what that was about," Mora said. "I heard him yell something like, `Hey you, we need to talk.' I said, `About what?' and he started cursing. I don't know why he got mad."

Tejada told Mora to "leave it alone and concentrate on the game," which no longer included Villone, who was charged with seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. He didn't get the decision in the Orioles' 9-7 victory.

"He might be frustrated because he threw 100 pitches in three innings," Mora said. "Maybe he feels better now because he didn't lose."

Palmeiro rebounds

Rested Saturday in New York, Rafael Palmeiro is trying to put more life into his batting average.

Palmeiro went 3-for-3 with a home run Sunday at Yankee Stadium, breaking an 0-for-15 spell, and had a two-run single and run-scoring double in Game 1 of yesterday's doubleheader. He is hitting .254.

"Raffy looks like he's swinging the bat well," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "I think the day off helped."

How often Palmeiro receives one depends on the number of available players on Mazzilli's bench, and a schedule that includes another open date tomorrow.

"We've got two days off this week," Mazzilli said, "That'll help all the players."

Palmeiro's double in the eighth gave him 2,873 career hits, moving him into a tie with Babe Ruth for 36th place on the all-time list. He passed Ruth with a single in the second game.

"I didn't realize that until I saw it on the scoreboard," he said. "I was hoping somebody would take a picture of it."

Williams back on mound

Reliever Todd Williams is ready to pitch again after being hit on the base of the skull by a line drive from Boston's Gabe Kapler in the eighth inning of a July 26 game at Camden Yards.

Cleared to throw over the weekend, Williams made it through Sunday's five-minute bullpen session and some long-tossing without any dizziness or other effects of the concussion. He allowed a hit to the only batter he faced, Bret Boone, in the sixth inning of Game 2.

"The spot's still sore, but I think I'm past the headaches," he said.

Williams said he won't be timid after returning to the mound. He won't fear having another line drive aimed up the middle.

"It doesn't necessarily scare me. I don't think it'll be a problem," he said.

"I saw the replay a few times and I was just checking the pitch location. It taught me not to throw the ball over the plate to him."

Around the horn

Scott Erickson, traded to the Texas Rangers on Sunday, is expected to start against the Orioles on Friday or Saturday. ... Taking batting practice yesterday with the Greek Olympic team, former No. 1 draft pick Nick Markakis deposited a few baseballs onto Eutaw Street, and a few others onto the flag court above the right-field scoreboard. An Orioles scout raved about Markakis' fluid swing and movements in the outfield. ... The Greek team takes on Canada today at 10 a.m. at Camden Yards. Admission is free, though the Orioles suggest $5 donations to benefit the Greek team and an education fund for the children of its late manager, Rob Derksen. Gates open at 9:30, and there is free parking in Lot B/C. ... Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki had five hits in Game 1, tying the career high he set on Thursday.

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