SEATTLE -- Right-hander Jeff Robinson, who expressed frustration Friday over his uncertain role on the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff, has been named to start Tuesday night's homestand opener against the Oakland Athletics at Memorial Stadium.
Robinson said before Friday's game that he was uncomfortable shifting between the starting rotation and the bullpen and publicly called on the club to make a decision one way or the other.
Pitching coach Al Jackson announced yesterday that Robinson would return to the rotation but said it had more to do with what he did during Friday's game than what he said before it.
"It had a lot to do with what happened last [Friday] night," Jackson said, referring to Robinson's 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. "Why Jeff Robinson? Why not Jeff Robinson?"
Robinson has a 4-1 lifetime record against the A's, but he was replaced in Wednesday's start at Oakland by Mike Flanagan, who entered that game with an 11-1 record at the Oakland Coliseum.
Manager Frank Robinson called several veterans together before last night's game for a brainstorming session on the club's recent struggles.
The group of six players included Cal Ripken, Glenn Davis, Dwight Evans, Mike Flanagan and Ernie Whitt. The meeting lasted about 40 minutes.
"It was just an information-gathering meeting," Robinson said. "I just wanted to find out how they feel and what they think is going on. I wanted to see how other people see things."
If it appeared that Robinson was looking for someone to take more of a leadership role, he said that had nothing to do with it.
"Leadership was not discussed," he said. "I'm not asking anyone to take on more responsibility or leadership. I just want to talk to the guys who have been around."
Manager answers Ballard
Robinson responded angrily to the comments made Friday night by pitcher Jeff Ballard, who was unhappy about being lifted from the game after giving up three runs over three innings.
"It's not just what he gave up," Robinson said. "I have to look at the whole picture. He didn't have good stuff, and it wasn't going to get any better. We aren't scoring runs and we needed someone to shut them down and give us chance to come back."
Jeff Robinson did just that, though the Orioles were unable to overcome the early three-run lead.
"They [players] only have to look at it from one point of view," Frank Robinson said. "I have to look at it from an overall point of view. He [Ballard] should be happy that Jeff [Robinson] came in and did a great job for us. You couldn't have asked for more than what he gave us last night."
Ballard still has calf strain
Ballard has had to cut back his running schedule because of renewed soreness in his right calf. Ballard's activities during the early weeks of spring training were limited because of the same problem.
The royal visit Wednesday night has helped ticket sales. More than 25,000 tickets have been sold for the game between the Orioles and the A's, which features visit by England's Queen Elizabeth II, President Bush and baseball commissioner Fay Vincent.
The gates at Memorial Stadium will open 30 minutes early that night so fans can avoid traffic problems associated with the royal and presidential motorcades.
Davis will be re-evaluated by Dr. Charles Silberstein tomorrow or Tuesday, but it still could be awhile before Davis begins taking batting practice. . . . The Orioles have never played particularly well on artificial turf. They came into last night's game 21 games under .500 (178-199). . . . Orioles relievers have pitched three innings or more 11 times this season.