Johnson refuses to take roster spot for granted


Dave Johnson spent most of his first eight seasons in the minor leagues, so he knows better than to take anything for granted.

The Baltimore Orioles' biggest winner this season will not go to spring training under the illusion that he has a guaranteed place on the team.

"That is the way I've always had to feel before," said Johnson. "I'm used to it. But that feeling helps drive me a little. It's an internal thing.

"Either you have a job or you don't. I can't sit back and say I probably have one won. If, all of a sudden I get lit up three times in a row, somebody else will have it."

However, the hometown favorite is in a far superior position than was this spring. He has 12 victories and has been the team's most consistent starter.

"No matter how good I did in the minors, it never seemed to be good enough," said Johnson. "And my Triple-A coach with Pittsburgh [Jackie Brown] drove into me the idea never to be complacent.

"It's hard to let me enjoy what I'm doing now thinking this way, but there is plenty of time for that. I'll probably have a job, but nothing is etched in stone."

Johnson had won three in a row before lower back problems began bothering him.

"I was real comfortable because I thought I'd easily win 15 or 16 with an outside shot at 17 or 18," he said.

* The Brewers were not happy with a call by second-base umpire Ted Hendry in the top of the 10th, when Bill Spiers was ruled out on a force play to end the inning.

Replays showed Spiers was safe and that Hendry was looking away from the play.

"Put a picture of that on the front page of the paper and see what Richie Phillips [head of the umpires' union] has to say about that," said Milwaukee coach Larry Haney.

"The last time I look, Richie Garcia was standing over there at first able to make the calls. Hendry didn't even see the play."

Manager Tom Trebelhorn said, "You'd like an opportunity to get beat or an opportunity to win, not have the opportunity taken away from you."

* Manager Frank Robinson was ejected by umpire Steve Palermo Saturday night after an on-going dispute that began when "Palermo said [David] Segui was staring at him from first base" in the seventh inning, according to Robinson.

The disagreement carried over into the eighth, when Palmero motioned for Chris Hoiles to get behind the plate with Rob Deer coming up as a pinch hitter. Deer had not been officially announced into the game and was not yet in the batter's box.

Robinson went to the mound, Palmero followed and an animated argument ensued, with Robinson being ejected for the third time this year.

The umpire would not discuss the incident, but Robinson said, "All I did was repeat one thing he said to me and I was gone. They can say anything they want. "

* Hoiles had to leave yesterday's game after straining his right shoulder in the first inning while throwing to second on a steal by Paul Molitor.

Hoiles was examined at Union Memorial Hospital and will undergo further tests tomorrow, but the severity of his injury is unknown. He will not make the trip to New York.

"He said he didn't have a lot of pain," Robinson said. "But I don't want to speculate what it is."

Bob Melvin, who replaced Hoiles in the lineup, won the game with a sacrifice fly.

"Sometimes it just works out that way," said Melvin.

* Mike Devereaux hit his second homer in as many games and attributed his surge to "looking at films Friday. I made some changes that helped me stay back [in the box]."

This homer landed in the left-field bleachers to the right of the foul pole, which has absorbed a number of Devereaux's shots the past two years.

"When I was in the minor leagues, I hit homers to right field," he said. "But up here, I want to be able to pull the ball. When I'm hitting well, I can hit both ways."

* The Brewers had lavish praise for Ben McDonald, who pitched nine innings and allowed one run.

"He's going to be a good pitcher. He's still learning," said Dave Parker. "He has a good fastball and an idea of what to do with his curve. A little maturing and he'll be a good one."

Trebelhorn said McDonald's location was so effective that "all the hard-hit balls went right to people. He pitched well without his best stuff. For a 22-year-old, he did a great job."

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