Sosa is still trying to find his way


Oriole manages to get lost in Yankee Stadium

he's also still without an RBI

April 09, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Back in the American League with the Orioles, right fielder Sammy Sosa paid his first visit to Yankee Stadium last night since April 17, 1991.

Playing for the Chicago White Sox, Sosa went 0-for-2. He homered off Dave Eiland the previous day.

"It feels kind of weird because I got lost when I came in," he said before batting practice yesterday. "It's nice. I'm here now. Being in the American League, there are a couple adjustments that you've got to make, but everything will be all right."

Sosa hopes that finding the right clubhouse will be the hardest adjustment.

Sosa is still searching for his first home run and RBI with the Orioles. He is 4-for-15 after going 1-for-4 last night. Asked if it will take awhile to get used to the AL, Sosa said, "No, I can hit."

Palmeiro struggling

Rafael Palmeiro began last night with one hit in 10 at-bats, and it came against Oakland's infield shift.

Facing the Athletics' Kiko Calero, Palmeiro singled down the left-field line in the ninth inning of Thursday's 5-1 loss.

Palmeiro was 2-for-4 against the Yankees last night.

Palmeiro blames his struggles last season on trying to hit the ball the opposite way, to the vacant area on the left side, rather than pull it. The shifts caused him to change his approach at the plate, something he wanted to avoid this year.

"I'm not going to worry about it too much," he said. "I'm not going to let it dictate my at-bats."

As for going to left field against Calero, Palmeiro said, "It was pitched where I could hit the ball the other way."

Palmeiro believes his timing at the plate has improved since he's been watching video tapes of his at-bats.

"I think I got it," he said. "I'll be all right. It's only three games."

Chen vs. Johnson

Pitching against Randy Johnson today won't intimidate Orioles left-hander Bruce Chen, who makes his first start of 2005. As he sees it, why should he be psyched out when he's not hitting against the five-time Cy Young Award winner? "Obviously he's a very good pitcher, and the Yankees have a very good lineup," Chen said.

"I just have to go out there and get people out. I don't have to worry about Randy Johnson. I'm not going to be matching him in strikeouts."

Chen is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA in two career starts at Yankee Stadium. The no-decision came last season with the Orioles, when he allowed one earned run and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"I don't take this different than any other start," he said. "It's the first start for me this season and the team is looking good. We have a good offense. And we're facing the Yankees, one of the best teams in the American League, so I'm anxious to go out there and do what I'm capable of doing."

Chen's other start in the Bronx came as a member of the Boston Red Sox. He allowed four earned runs in five innings.

"Obviously, the people here know baseball. They love the Yankees, and the team definitely has a home-field advantage," he said. "But I'm feeling good. I'm throwing the ball good. It's going to be good."

Manager Lee Mazzilli named Chen his fifth starter while the team was in Oklahoma City for two exhibition games after breaking camp. Chen beat out Rick Bauer, who went to the bullpen.

"I had no idea. I didn't start any of the games," Chen said. "It was a close decision, and I was very happy they gave me this opportunity."

Pondering lineup

Mazzilli was still deciding which lineup to use against Johnson, who often forces managers to sit their left-handed hitters, no matter how good.

Palmeiro is 1-for-21 lifetime against Johnson.

"I want to play," Palmeiro said.

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