O's slew of balks moves Miller to confusion

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Club leads majors with 8

he says only 4 `legitimate'

Notebook

June 29, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Pitching coach Ray Miller hasn't been able to detect several of the major league-leading eight balks called on the Orioles this season, so he was obviously at a loss yesterday to explain what his pitchers could do differently to avoid future ones.

"Just don't move, I guess," Miller said. "Sit perfectly still and try not to breathe too heavy."

Miller was only half-joking. Entering last night, only 39 balks had been called on American League teams this season and nobody but the Orioles had more than four. The Colorado Rockies lead the National League with five.

Miller has reviewed all eight assessed on his pitchers and says four were "legitimate" balks. That list does not include the balk called on reliever Steve Kline in the eighth inning Monday that led to the go-ahead run in the New York Yankees' 6-4 win and Kline being tossed from the game.

Three of the balks, including two by Kline, led to go-ahead runs.

Miller was particularly annoyed about Kline's balk Monday because he felt the Yankees had influenced the call.

"I hear the Yankee dugout yell and then the umpire calls it. What they saw was a very, very trivial thing," he said.

Kline under review

The league is looking into Kline's ejection Monday for possible disciplinary action. Incensed with plate umpire Marty Foster, Kline screamed and pointed at the umpire and eventually needed to be restrained by Lee Mazzilli. The Orioles manager appeared to make contact with Foster after getting bumped by the reliever.

"Any time a player is ejected, it gets reviewed," said Pat Courtney, Major League Baseball's vice president of public relations.

Courtney said a decision should come in a couple of days, and Kline's comments after the game that the umpires "favor the Yankees," may be considered as a part of the whole incident.

Chen still ailing

Bruce Chen limped around the clubhouse yesterday, clearly favoring his sprained left big toe. Though Mazzilli said it is still too early to determine if the left-hander can make tomorrow's start, Chen didn't sound optimistic.

"It feels better, but I still can't put all my weight [on the foot], and especially I can't push off," said Chen.

In other injury news, catcher Javy Lopez saw a was cleared to begin baseball-related activities. Lopez took batting practice and estimated he is maybe 10 days from a rehab assignment.

And third baseman Melvin Mora, who sat out his seventh straight game with a strained hamstring, will try to run today.

Acquisition for Ripken

Believing the success he has had with minor league baseball in his hometown of Aberdeen will translate elsewhere, Cal Ripken said yesterday that he was thrilled his Ripken Baseball Group has purchased a Single-A San Francisco Giants affiliate in Augusta, Ga.

"We are very excited to expand on this success in other baseball cities and are confident that the Augusta GreenJackets will benefit from our proven model," Ripken said.

Although the announcement was made Monday, the GreenJackets won't officially become Ripken Baseball property until Oct. 1.

Sun staff writer Dan Connolly contributed to this article.

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