Bronx boos are fine with Millar

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Former Red Sox feels honored

he also urges Tejada to speak up

April 23, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

NEW YORK -- It is because of the uniform that he used to wear that Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar has been booed the past two days at Yankee Stadium. But that's just fine with the former member of the hated Boston Red Sox, who appreciates the attention.

"It was kind of neat," Millar said. "It was such a great rivalry, the three years I played with Boston. Good players are usually the only ones that get booed. I didn't think I was a good enough player to get booed. I might have made it in the show. It's a good deal. That's what makes the fans and the rivalries great."

Millar said regardless of the treatment, Yankee Stadium is one of his favorite places to play.

"I love it," he said. "There is a lot of tradition here. You look at all the phenomenal games and the things that have happened in the stadium. It's not the prettiest stadium. It's not the prettiest atmosphere, but if you are a baseball fan, the games that have been here and the things that have happened, that's what it is about."

Prodding Tejada

Nobody seems to know what has led to Miguel Tejada being much more vocal in recent days, but Millar admitted that he talked to the Orioles shortstop about four days ago during batting practice and urged him to be more of a team leader.

"I basically just told him, `I want to see the guy that I remembered playing against, the guy making everybody laugh from the other side,'" Millar said. "I remember this guy nonstop yipping and yapping up and down the dugout. Players have said that he's changed and last year he went through some tough stuff and blah, blah, blah.

"I want him to understand, let's end that and let's be ourselves. I think we are very similar personalities, from different cultures. [I told him], `I don't care who doesn't like it, who doesn't like you being loud. Be Miggy.' He is the face of the club. He's a superstar. We just need his enthusiasm. It's contagious."

Seeking right lineup

Former Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli used to employ an all right-handed lineup against Randy Johnson, who starts today for the Yankees. Current manager Sam Perlozzo would like to do the same thing, but he may not be able to because he lacks a third right-handed-hitting outfielder.

Jeff Conine and recent addition Luis Terrero could start, but it's likely that one of the club's three left-handed outfielders (Jay Gibbons, Corey Patterson or Nick Markakis) will have to play today as well.

"I might have one lefty in there," Perlozzo said. "I am not going to tip my hand yet."

Chavez gets first start

Wanting to rest catcher Ramon Hernandez 12 hours after he caught all nine innings on Friday night, Perlozzo gave Raul Chavez his first start yesterday. Chavez went 1-for-4.

"We need to keep Ramon from wearing down," Perlozzo said before the game. "He'll have [yesterday] off, he'll have Monday [an open date] off. We'll keep him nice and fresh. We need him later in the season, too."

Hernandez has been the starting catcher in 16 of the Orioles' 19 games.

"It's always nice having a day off, but, you know, I like to play," Hernandez said. "I'd rather play every day, whether I am tired or not."

Around the horn

Perlozzo didn't rule out Todd Williams needing a few more rehab appearances before rejoining the team. He is scheduled to pitch for a second time for Double-A Bowie today. ... The Yankees honored the Orioles' late bullpen coach, Elrod Hendricks, who played for New York in 1976 and 1977, with a moment of silence before yesterday's game. ... Brian Roberts' third-inning steal yesterday was the first on Yankees pitcher Shawn Chacon in his past 18 appearances. The Orioles are 15-for-15 on stolen-base attempts, one of only two teams - San Diego is the other - yet to be caught. ... Tejada extended his hitting streak to eight games with his first-inning single.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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