Roch around the clock

ROCH AROUND THE CLOCK

The Kickoff

April 04, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO

Luis Matos' throw from center field in the first inning skipped off the mound as Julio Lugo scored to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. Then he bunted into a force at second base after Brian Roberts reached on an infield hit. He had to wipe blood from the bridge of his nose after diving into second on a steal, and just got doubled off the bag on Miguel Tejada's liner.

Some guys will do anything to get noticed. At least he didn't knock down The Bird during player introductions.

Roberts had everyone on edge when he dived into first on a chopper up the middle that second baseman Jorge Cantu backhanded before making an off-balance throw. Roberts probably would have beaten it out. Why risk injury? Why give your manager a heart attack? Roberts' father, Mike, is videotaping his son's every move. You can feel the pride from up here.

By the way, Melvin Mora was sporting a huge smile as he ran down the carpet during introductions. But don't be fooled. He's extremely upset over his contract negotiations, figuring his side came down enough at three years, $27 million.

So much for that rumored announcement of a contract extension before the game. Where did that one start?

I didn't hear a single jeer for Tejada during his introduction. Not one.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

For more "Roch Around the Clock," go to baltimoresun.com/roch

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