Robinson is happy to change lineup card for outfielder Evans


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Frank Robinson was more than happy to make a last-minute lineup change yesterday.

Not that it mattered. Not that anything mattered the way Chicago righthander Alex Fernandez stifled the Orioles in a 9-0 yawner.

But when Dwight Evans said he was ready to play in the outfield, Robinson didn't hesitate. "The lineup was already made out," said Robinson, "but when he said, 'If it isn't a problem I'd like to go out there today,' I said 'It won't be any problem at all.' "

For the first time since Aug. 2, 1989 (against the Orioles) Evans appeared in rightfield yesterday. His first play came on the first pitch, a line single to rightfield.

Evans, who was playing in his sixth game this spring, ran down several other balls as the White Sox breezed and afterward pronounced his return an unqualified success. "I loved it," he said. "It felt good. I had fun out there. The only problem was picking up the ball after it left the pitcher's hand. It was a little tough to see," because of the glare from a bright sun.

With Evans in rightfield, the Orioles' lineup yesterday came the closest yet to matching what Robinson would like to see on Opening Day. About the only thing accomplished offensively, however, was that Evans broke up Fernandez's no-hitter with a single to left in the fifth inning. Fernandez had retired 13 in a row and the Orioles finished with only three hits in an extremely lackluster performance.

* NAPLES REVISITED: The Orioles have a new backer for a proposed spring training complex in Naples, Fla., and their plans were to be revealed to Collier County officials today.

Orioles president Larry Lucchino said that Florida Rock, a construction materials supplier, has agreed to replace USF&G; as a sponsor -- on a different site than previously planned. Although it is not a done deal, it is believed that approval by Collier County officials is little more than a formality.

The Orioles are hoping the facility can be ready for 1993, meaning they still have to make temporary arrangements for next year.

* FLANAGAN FLAIR: Mike Flanagan's fourth appearance of the spring was in a minor-league game yesterday, and the results were about the same. Pitching for Triple A Rochester against Minnesota's Portland farm club, Flanagan gave up one unearned run in five innings.

In his three games against major-league competition, Flanagan did not give up an earned run in 12 innings. The veteran lefthander, who has all but clinched a spot on the Orioles' staff, gave up four hits and struck out two yesterday.

* SWITCHING ROLES: Deacon Jones, who has been the minor-league hitting instructor for the last three years, will wear the hat of advance scout this year. General manager Roland Hemond announced yesterday that Jones would replace Ed Farmer, the advance man last year, who joined the White Sox last winter as a special assistant to Ron Schueler.

Jones, 56, has 36 years of experience in professional baseball, including 24 as a coach, instructor and scout. Jones was the hitting coach for the San Diego Padres from 1984-87 before joining the Orioles.

* LOOKING AHEAD: The Orioles have two more games on the west coast of Florida before moving their spring headquarters to the Fort Lauderdale area. They face the Pirates today and the Phillies tomorrow before heading across the state for the third, and last, time.

After facing the Dodgers in Vero Beach Wednesday, the Orioles will play their last nine Florida exhibitions in the Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area against the Expos (4), Yankees (4) and Braves (1).

The final two exhibition games will be played against the Red Sox in RFK Stadium in Washington April 6 and 7.

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