Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera angered the Boston Red Sox in spring training because of what they deemed spotty location on his fastball.
He got the New York Yankees' attention earlier this season by throwing a fastball high and behind star third baseman Alex Rodriguez after Carl Pavano had plunked Brian Roberts.
And Friday night, Cabrera nearly incited a bench-clearing brawl by hitting Toronto's Eric Hinske on the right shoulder with a 2-0 pitch that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons described as "gutless" and Hinske as "intentional."
Cabrera didn't get much support from those in his own clubhouse either, as several Orioles expected retribution from Toronto's pitching staff. Dave Bush, the Blue Jays starter yesterday, did hit Melvin Mora in the first inning and Javy Lopez in the sixth, but the Orioles reacted to neither.
"You are disappointed in the way it happened," said catcher Sal Fasano, who blocked Hinske's path when he made a motion to charge the mound. "Why? Why did you do that? It's just hard for you to defend a guy who struggled that inning and then took it out on one of their players and threw close to their head. Once you throw at a guy's head, that's bad."
Orioles outfielder David Newhan agreed.
"It's a little ridiculous," Newhan said. "It's bound to happen where guys get hit, but you don't like to see it that high. You don't like to see people putting careers on the line. It's a joke. There are other ways to go about it, other than the way he did. It's a shame. Hopefully, none of us get hurt because of it."
For his part, Cabrera said he didn't intentionally throw at Hinske.
"If I wanted to hit him, I'd have hit him on the first pitch," Cabrera said. "I was trying to throw strikes. It was hot and there was sweat over my arm. The ball was slipping."
Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller said it's a good thing if hitters go into the batter's box with a certain amount of fear in facing the 6-foot-7 Cabrera, who routinely throws in the high 90s. However, he said that he is trying to eliminate Cabrera's habit of throwing the ball high and in.
Miller and catcher Lopez said they don't feel Cabrera intentionally targets hitters; rather, he tries to throw harder when he gets frustrated and often loses control.
"A guy like him, who has tremendous stuff, all of a sudden loses it during the game, and it's frustrating for him," Lopez said. "You have to try to get him calmed down and be normal. It's a lot of work, but you can do it."
Fasano attributed much of Cabrera's control problems to a lack of experience, and admitted the right-hander doesn't communicate often with his catchers.
"He really doesn't have a working relationship with us," Fasano said. "To be honest with you, he really doesn't come into contact or ask a lot of questions to me or Javy. It's kind of hard because we want to help. You'd think he would trust you because we're not back there trying to hurt him."
Palmeiro gets support
Rafael Palmeiro, who has yet to play after returning Thursday from his 10-day suspension for a failed steroid test but will probably be back in the lineup as the Orioles designated hitter today, signed autographs for about 20 minutes before yesterday's game.
He continues to report mostly positive treatment from Orioles fans, and felt good enough about the fans' reception to have his family - his wife, Lynne, and his two sons, Patrick, 15, and Preston, 10 - at the past two games.
"The first couple of days I didn't want to bring them back, but they wanted to come," Palmeiro said. "They feel like they are part of this team. The guys really like for them to be around. They get to do a lot of things. They came back after the game last night. I am sure they will be here again tonight and the day after again."
Palmeiro expressed gratitude for the support that he has received from his family.
"That's the way my kids have been," he said. "They took it in stride. They were very supportive. They tell me they love me every day, which means a lot to me. And hopefully their lives have not changed like mine. Hopefully they can live a normal life and continue on with baseball and hopefully they can enjoy their life and not worry about their dad so much."
Around the horn
The Orioles are tentatively scheduled to play host to the Washington Nationals at Camden Yards from June 23 to 25, 2006, according to a club source. The Orioles also will visit RFK Stadium to face the Nationals from May 19 to 21, the source confirmed. ... The game-time temperature yesterday was 100 degrees. ... After going 0-for-3 yesterday, Sammy Sosa is in a 1-for-21 slump. ... Yesterday was the Orioles' first 1-0 win of the season ... The Orioles have scored only one run in their past 20 innings.