PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles pitching staff has been a total zero so far.
Two days into the Grapefruit League exhibition season, eight Orioles pitchers have taken the mound and not one has given up a run.
The Texas Rangers became the second straight shutout victims yesterday, managing only four hits on the way to a 5-0 defeat in their exhibition home opener at Charlotte County Stadium.
Third baseman Leo Gomez drove in the first run of the game when he reached base on an error in the sixth inning. The Orioles hammered veteran reliever Goose Gossage for three runs on four hits in the seventh, two runs scoring on a single by Craig Worthington.
Left-hander Jeff Ballard got the victory for three perfect innings of relief, but Bob Milacki (who started the game), J.J. Bautista and Paul Kilgus had a hand in running the club's Grapefruit League scoreless streak to 18 innings.
The Orioles sent Randy Milligan for X-rays yesterday, the day after he jammed his right ankle in a collision with Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas.
The X-rays confirmed the preliminary diagnosis. Milligan suffered slight sprain and will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. The ankle apparently was more sore yesterday than it was the day before, but that is not uncommon.
Milligan will not make the weekend trip to Fort Lauderdale to face the New York Yankees.
"There's no point in having him ride the bus over there," manager Frank Robinson said. "He's not going to do anything."
Robinson said outfielder Larry Sheets also will miss the weekend trip. He apparently has a sore back.
"You get a lot of little nicks this time of year," Robinson said. "The important thing is to stay away from the stuff that costs you a lot of playing time."
There are six pitchers who have been led to believe that they will in the starting rotation if they pitch well this spring, which means that something is going to have to give before Opening Day.
If all goes well, somebody is going to be the odd man out, and that somebody might be Jose Mesa, who still could be optioned back to the minor leagues if he doesn't fit in.
"If he's going to be here, he's going to be a starter," Robinson said. "I don't think Mesa can work out of the bullpen after coming off surgery."
Of course, roster surpluses have a way of working themselves out, but Robinson is prepared to make the tough choice if all six potential starters pitch well all spring.
"That'll make my job a lot tougher," he said, "which I hope they do."
The Texas Rangers apparently lost catcher Mark Parent for the year when he tore up a knee in an intrasquad game early yesterday. Parent apparently tore his medial collateral ligament and damaged the cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Parent, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres during the off-season, is a lifetime .197 hitter.
Right-hander Jeff Robinson will make his Orioles exhibition debut today against the Yankees. Anthony Telford, John Mitchell, Dan Boone and Francisco de la Rosa also could pitch today. Mike Mussina and Mike Flanagan will throw three innings each in tomorrow's game, also against the Yankees.
Bill Ripken was wearing an ice pack on his upper left thigh yesterday, apparently to relieve a slight groin inflammation. But
he said he is fine and will play this weekend.
Say goodbye to The Bird. The Orioles have discontinued their nationwide satellite feed. The club never intended to carry the broadcast through the exhibition season.