2nd trip with O's interests Rhodes

AL Notebook

Baseball Week

July 03, 2005

This is what Arthur Rhodes has always wanted.

A defined role, an injury-free season and a place he enjoys playing all at once.

Rhodes is a Cleveland Indian now, a lefty setup man having a resurgent season.

He's years removed from his time in Baltimore, when the can't-miss prospect was a starter, long reliever and setup man. He was asked to do everything, and the results were as inconsistent as his ever-changing role.

He's 35 now, a seasoned veteran. And, deep down, he wants to end his career where it started.

"I'd love to come back here and play, finish up my career here," said Rhodes, who makes his offseason home in Baltimore County. "If Cleveland gives me the first offer, I'd stay in Cleveland ... But this would be my second choice."

He's tied to the Indians through 2006, part of a three-year deal he signed before last season with Oakland. He was supposed to be the Athletics' closer, but he saved just nine of 14 opportunities before being demoted to a setup spot.

"I tried it, and I did my best," Rhodes said. "It wasn't my role, I wasn't used to it."

This offseason Oakland traded him to Pittsburgh, which dealt him to Cleveland. His closer days are over. He's happy as a setup man for the rest of his baseball life, which he figures will last about four more years.

Heading into this series against his old team, Rhodes had the 11th-best ERA for American League relievers (1.72) and was 10th in opponents average with runners in scoring position (.174). He believes he's in a comfort zone again, like he was when he was one of baseball's best relievers from 2001 to 2002 with Seattle. If he can continue this run, he might one day be back in an Orioles uniform.

"I had a lot of great years here. I had fun," Rhodes said. "When you play for the Orioles, you will always have a good time."

Anderson's pain

Craig Biggio's setting of the modern-day hit-by-pitch record of 268 brings back memories of the Orioles own black-and-blue champion, Brady Anderson.

Anderson was hit 154 times, including 148 as an Oriole and 24 in one season (1999) - both modern team records. Now retired and living in California, Anderson had a simple philosophy: Get close to the plate, and deal with the plunkings.

"Getting hit by a pitcher was not fun, but it was also a way to let the pitcher know they are not getting me off the plate," Anderson told The Sun's Roch Kubatko. "They can throw inside and they can put me on first base if they throw too far inside. And they can do it again and again, it's not going to change my approach."

Quick hits

Toronto's Roy Halladay has gone at least six innings in each of his first 17 starts, and seven or more innings in 14. ... The Blue Jays are 21-12 in the American League East and the Orioles are 20-12 within their division, while the Yankees are 12-20. ... The White Sox are cautious about making a deadline trade, because they don't want to disrupt tremendous team chemistry.

League notebooks are compiled from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.

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