Healthy but without roster spot, impatient Johnson...


Healthy but without roster spot, impatient Johnson wants 0) answers

Dave Johnson is returning to the Rochester Red Wings to pitch again tonight in Class AAA baseball, but he said he feels like a man on the unemployment line.

"I don't have a job. That's the way I look at it," said Johnson, who still is on rehabilitation assignment. "I thought I did, but I don't have one for next year, either.

"Every day that goes by, there is less opportunity for me here. I didn't win the Cy Young Award last year, but I had the kind of season where I proved I could pitch in the majors."

Johnson, a 13-game winner in 1990, is waiting impatiently to talk to the front-office decision-makers about his situation, but has been delayed because general manager Roland Hemond is at the Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y. He wants to see Hemond and assistant general managers Frank Robinson and Doug Melvin all at once.

Johnson has not pitched for the Orioles since May and has thrown four times for the Class AA Hagerstown Suns and Rochester since July 2 with good results. He was 3-0 for the Suns with a 1.00 ERA and is 0-1 for the Red Wings with a 4.50 ERA, losing a 3-0 game.

Manager John Oates said Johnson has recovered from the groin-muscle injury that sidelined him, but said the club "is waiting for a roster spot. We want to improve the ballclub by adding him.

"Hey, he has a right to be itchy."

Johnson was awaiting the diagnosis of Tim Hulett's back. If Hulett required the disabled list, Johnson thought he might be activated. But it appears Hulett will be ready to play shortly.

"Even if they put me in right now, how many starts would I get?" he asked rhetorically. "Every week that goes by is two starts I don't get. I still don't understand why there are so many questions about me. All the way up and down, I've done the job.

"Roy [Smith] must be in the same situation because he's like me. He goes game to game, pitch to pitch, because one time somebody hits the ball hard, and the questions immediately come up."

Does Johnson want to be traded?

"I want to be in the big leagues," he said. "I don't care who it is with. Roland mentioned they were talking trade earlier, but trades are hard to make right now."

Tentatively, Johnson will meet tomorrow with club officials, but "who knows?" he said. "By then, Frank may be out of town on some assignment.

"I just want them to give me an idea, some kind of reasons why I'm not playing."

His 30-day rehabilitation assignment will not expire until early next month.

Martinez can't hold on

Chito Martinez came close, but not close enough to rob Alvin Davis of his ninth home run of the season.

Martinez, playing right field, went to the fence and leaped for Davis' fifth-inning drive. When he came down, many fans were cheering, thinking he had made the catch. Martinez even fooled Davis, who along with runner Pete O'Brien stopped momentarily between first and second base.

Said Martinez: "I thought I had it. I hit the wall and it came out."

Davis' two-run homer broke a 4-4 tie and capped a five-run inning that put the Mariners ahead, 6-4.

"I should have caught it," Martinez said shaking his head. "Just one of those things."

Oates glad to get a break

Oates said today's day off comes at a welcome time.

"I think the ballclub needs to shut it down for a day," he said. "I don't want to see anybody in this place. I guarantee you I won't see a single soul because I won't be here."

Alteration for Evans

Outfielder Dwight Evans was due to play three straight days in the upcoming series against the California Angels, with three left-handers scheduled to pitch.

But the Angels altered their rotation and will pitch right-hander Kirk McCaskill on Thursday, meaning Evans will not start.

"We've got to find out what Chito [Martinez] can do," said Oates. "I talked to Dwight and told him we'll play him as much as we possibly can."


The Mariners were the first team to complete play at Memorial Stadium. They were sorry to see it end. They won 10 of their last 13 and 20 of their last 30 here after dropping the first 14 when they were a struggling expansion team. . . . The series drew 107,820, the best-attended between the two teams. The previous high was 100,524, also at Memorial Stadium. . . . Davis' homer was the first Mike Flanagan has allowed to a left-handed hitter this year. Flanagan had given up only 2 previously, both in his only start -- May 8 at Oakland. . . . Cal Ripken maintained his league-leading batting average by .0003 over the Kansas City Royals' Danny Tartabull despite an 0-for-4 day. Ripken has topped the league every day but 1 since June 4. . . . Leo Gomez ended an 0-for-16 drought with a fourth-inning double. He is in a 4-for-39 slump, but he hasn't let it affect his fielding. He made two more solid plays yesterday, both in the eighth inning. . . . The Orioles have lost 7 straight series to Seattle.

Tara Finnegan of The Sun's sports staff contributed to this article.


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