Davis' return to affect Evans, Horn, Milligan
The return of first baseman Glenn Davis, now just a matter of days away, will affect the playing time of at least three players and perhaps even lead to a deal involving one of them.
Manager John Oates indicated yesterday that designated hitter Sam Horn and outfielder Dwight Evans would be affected most when Davis returns from an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Class AA Hagerstown Suns. Oates would not speculate on the future of either, but Evans has been the subject of trade rumors and figures to be an attractive commodity when contending teams move to bolster their rosters before the Aug. 31 deadline for postseason eligibility.
First baseman Randy Milligan moved to the outfield the first time the Orioles moved Davis into the starting lineup, but that won't happen this time. Milligan will either remain at first or move into a full-time designated hitter role. Davis will DH or play first base, depending on how much he can handle upon his return from a serious neck injury. No matter how the situation works out, the number of at-bats left for Horn and Evans will diminish significantly.
"That's an area where we're going to have a lot of depth," Oates said. "We don't have that many positions where we can deal from a position of strength. You can't play five guys at first base and DH, but you do have to have five starting pitchers."
But the Orioles are not going to deal anyone who will bring them a quality starting pitcher. Milligan isn't going anywhere, because the club does not know if Davis is going to be around next year. Horn's one-dimensional role limits his market value, and Evans probably would bring only prospects.
Oates emphasized yesterday that if Davis re-signs with the Orioles and Oates still is manager, there will be no repeat of the left-field experiment with Milligan next spring.
"Randy is a good major-league offensive player," Oates said. "He has made himself into a pretty good first baseman. I have no problem with the way he plays first base, but I do have a problem with the way he plays the outfield. I don't think that we can make him into a major-league outfielder at this stage of his career."
Ripken at Frederick
Second baseman Bill Ripken tested his sore rib cage as the designated hitter in a Class A game with the Frederick Keys last night. If he experiences no renewal of the rib soreness today, he might go to Hagerstown tonight and play second base for the Suns, since the Keys will have left on a road trip.
Alvarez Player of Week
White Sox pitcher Wilson Alvarez was named the American League Player of the Week for his no-hit performance against the Orioles on Sunday. Alvarez is the third White Sox player in the past four weeks to be named Player of the Week, after Frank Thomas (July 29-Aug. 4) and Robin Ventura (July 15-22). Thomas also was named Player of the Week for April 22-28.
Sox sign Brock
Veteran first baseman Greg Brock, who was released by the dTC Milwaukee Brewers on July 8, was signed to a minor-league contract yesterday by the White Sox, who assigned him to their Class AAA Vancouver club. Brock is a 10-year major-league veteran who began his career in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He was batting .283 in limited action when he was released by the Brewers.
Oates did not question the seventh-inning scoring decision in Sunday's no-hitter, choosing instead to applaud Lance Johnson for the great catch that robbed Chris Hoiles in the eighth. "If Johnson catches that ball," Oates said, "the guy deserves a no-hitter.". . . . Tonight's doubleheader is a discount night. General admission tickets will go for one dollar less than usual (from $4.75 to $3.75).