Worthington assumes basics-first stance at 3rd


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Craig Worthington said he is "getting back to basics" in his attempt to regain his foothold on the Baltimore Orioles' third-base job.

"I know I've got to come in and establish myself all over again," Worthington said. "And I've got to take it slow. Last year snowballed on me. I was trying to make things up too fast."

Worthington is being challenged for the position by Leo Gomez, who is batting .333 and leads the team with six RBI.

The incumbent was The Sporting News Rookie of the Year in 1989, but slipped to a .226 batting average last season, hitting only .198 with runners in scoring position.

"It doesn't matter if you're here for a year or 10 years, no job is stable in the big leagues," he said. "Frank [Robinson, manager] has been behind me 100 percent and whatever happens, happens. If he has any doubts, then you have doubts." Worthington knocked in the Orioles' first run with a single yesterday, his fourth RBI of the spring.

He has lost some weight and is much less sure of his status than last year, when he reported late to a training camp that started late because of a lockout.

"I'm not really worried because I'm never a fast starter," he said. "I'm just trying to get three or four good swings a game and not do too much differently."

* Paul Carey hit a game-winning, seventh-inning home run off Orlando Lind in the Orioles' 3-1 victory in the "B" game. A left-handed batting outfielder, Carey was purchased from the independent Miami Miracle on March 4. He is hitting .429 in "A" games.

Luis Mercedes had a single and two walks, scored two runs and stole a base, as the leadoff batter. His overall spring batting average is .347.

Sam Horn drove in an insurance run with a double and left-hander Arthur Rhodes picked up the victory with two scoreless innings in relief of Jose Mesa.

"I did all right," Rhodes said. "I'm doing OK out of the bullpen. I want to make the team, but I'd rather go to Rochester and pitch there awhile, rather than sit."

Rhodes threw mostly fastballs after having trouble with his curve.

Mesa allowed five hits and a run in four innings. Joe Price went two scoreless innings.

"He did all right," Robinson said of Mesa. "They had the bases loaded and none out and didn't score. He had much better control and command."

* Dave Johnson pitched a creditable first five innings in the feature, but tired slightly in his final inning.

"His tank was full when he went out there," Robinson said. "But it looked like he lost a little bit. It was a good outing. Same Johnson, never getting enough respect."

* Glenn Davis did not make the trip to Fort Myers at Robinson's behest. "I told him not to come along," said the manager.

Davis hasn't played since Tuesday because of a muscle spasm in his neck.

* The Orioles will play an A-B doubleheader today against Texas in Port Charlotte.

Ben McDonald, Roy Smith, Paul Kilgus and Gregg Olson are scheduled to pitch in the "A" game on Channel 2 at 1:30 p.m.

* The Orioles have allowed 15 unearned runs as the result of eight errors in the past three games. . . . They will work out Monday at 11 a.m. on a scheduled day off. . . . Mike Devereaux's good spring continued. He was 1-for-3 with two RBI, but surrendered his team lead in hitting to Horn by dropping to .444.

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