Orioles unable to challenge use of illegal bat


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The "Pine Tar Controversy" it wasn't.

The Baltimore Orioles caught Kansas City Royals outfielder Danny Tartabull using an illegal bat on Thursday night, but were unable to take advantage of the situation.

Tartabull was using a bat produced by a Japanese manufacturer (Zett) that is not approved for major-league play. If he had gotten TC on base in the opener of the four-game series at Royals Stadium, the Orioles were prepared to challenge the bat and -- if necessary -- protest the game.

"That shows how bad we're going," manager John Oates said. "We couldn't get a guy from their team on base when we wanted to. If he got on base, we would have challenged, and if nothing happened, we protest and maybe get to play it over."

Oates inquired of umpire Larry Barnett to determine whether the bat was legal. The umpires were not sure, but checked yesterday and determined that it was not.

"Any bat that's used in a major-league game has to be approved by the major-league rules committee," Oates said.

Tartabull was not amused with what he felt was a case of blatant gamesmanship. He claimed that it started with Orioles third-base coach Cal Ripken Sr.

"That's weak," he said. "Cal Ripken ought to be worrying about Bill Ripken and not Danny Tartabull. If they tell me I can't use the bat, I'll go back to the Worth bat I used to put the hurt on them in Baltimore."

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