First things first Cloudy Milligan forecast allows Segui to reign


TORONTO -- The Orioles' Randy Milligan is still not fully recovered from his separated left shoulder, so it appears almost certain rookie David Segui will continue starting at first base the next three games against Boston.

Hitting instructor Tom McCraw said Milligan may have suffered a setback before last night's 6-5 loss to Toronto, in which Segui went 2-for-4 with his first major-league home run, a two-run shot off closer Tom Henke that tied the score in the eighth inning.

Milligan acknowledged he experienced pain in his shoulder fielding grounders during batting practice. With 16 games to play, it appears he will return only as a designated hitter, if at all. "Maybe I should shut down the fielding and concentrate on hitting," Milligan said.

McCraw said another evaluation will be made after Milligan takes batting practice tonight at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles are 12-26 since he suffered his injury on Aug. 7. Milligan continues to lead the club with 20 homers, despite missing the last 38 games.

Segui, meanwhile, has emerged as the Orioles' hottest hitter. He is 9-for-23 since missing nine days with a bruised right knee, and has four doubles in his last four games. He batted .167 in his first stint with the Orioles in May, but has since raised his average to .250.

Before his two-run shot off Henke, Segui had hit only two homers in 390 at-bats at Rochester and Baltimore this season. Asked what he will do with the ball, he said, "Probably give it to my mom. I never keep stuff like that."

"He will," Orioles outfielder Steve Finley promised. "It's going to be on his mantel."

* UNEASY LIES THE CROWN: Orioles righthander Dave Johnson last night regained the major-league lead in home runs allowed, giving up solo shots to Kelly Gruber in the first inning and George Bell in the fourth.

Johnson has now given up 28 homers in 157 1/3 innings, two more than Houston's Mike Scott. The strange thing about last night was that he had more success against the Blue Jays' lefthanded (and switch) hitters than he did against the two righthanders, Gruber and Bell.

"It's a situation where I gave them pitches to hit out in a park where it's easily done down the lines," Johnson said. "They took advantage of it. It doesn't bother me. If nothing else, it's a learning process for me right now."

Johnson has allowed 77 runs this season, nearly half (38) on homers. He is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his last four starts, sandwiched around his stint on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

* DAMNING EVIDENCE: A color photograph in the Toronto Sun yesterday provided undeniable proof that Mookie Wilson was out going first-to-third in Saturday's game, which the Blue Jays won 4-3 on Gruber's three-run homer in the next at-bat.

Orioles third baseman Craig Worthington said he saw the picture but again refused comment on umpire John Shulock's call. Manager Frank Robinson joked he would take out the lineup card "with that taped to my jersey." But as usual first-base coach Johnny Oates performed those duties -- without props.

Wilson said he made a "calculated" gamble running on rightfielder Jeff McKnight. The Blue Jays' scouting report said McKnight had a below-average arm. "I read that," McKnight said, laughing. He had made three appearances in right before Saturday.

"When I stood up and dusted myself off, I was looking for the horseshoe," Wilson said. "I wasn't running blind. I thought he was playing deep to make a throw, and I thought he wouldn't risk it, so he could keep Tony [Fernandez] at first and the double play in order."

* FRIENDLY NATIVES: The word is out about Gregg Olson and his affinity for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Fans in the SkyDome presented him with a stuffed replica of Michelangelo in the fourth inning of Saturday's game.

"Somebody roped it down to me from the top deck," Olson said. "I thought either they were dogging me or giving me this thing. It was hanging by its neck. I thought maybe it was a play on the night before [when Olson took the loss]. At first I didn't know. But they were smiling, all happy. They told me not to throw any more curveballs. I assumed they were friendly. They were all waving."

* PREDICTABLE OCCURRENCE: It should have come as no surprise that Toronto lefthander David Wells was the pitcher when the Ripken brothers hit home runs in the same inning on Saturday. "Every time someone does something against me, it's history," Wells said.

It was only the fifth time brothers have homered in the same inning, and the first time since Hank and Tommie Aaron did it in 1962. Wells also gave up Frank White's 2,000th hit, and was the pitcher when Rickey Henderson passed Ty Cobb to become the all-time AL stolen-base leader.

* AROUND THE HORN: The Orioles were 49-1 leading after eight innings until losing back-to-back games in that fashion this weekend. That hadn't happened since Aug. 28, 1986, when Oakland rallied in both games of a doubleheader to defeat Don Aase.

Positive note of the day, No. 1: The Orioles have executed 64 sacrifice bunts, their most in a season since 1975 . . . Positive note of the day, No. 2: Boston has passed the Orioles for the AL lead in left on base (1,128-1,125).

Worthington went 1-for-11 in the series, lowering his average to .224. He has gone 36 games without a homer, the longest drought of his two-year career . . . Robinson used 12 different pitchers in the series -- everyone but Kevin Hickey, Dorn Taylor and Mike Smith.

Brady Anderson (1-for-4, walk) stole second and third base in the same inning for the second time in five days. He has been successful in his last nine stolen-base attempts, but is in a 9-for-58 slump that has dropped his average from .279 on Aug. 25 to .242.

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