Pitchers Dave Johnson and Jeff Ballard lost their jobs in the Baltimore Orioles starting rotation this year, but both might get a chance to close out 1991 with one last starting assignment.
Manager John Oates said yesterday that he probably will give Johnson a start against the Boston Red Sox at Memorial Stadium during the three-game series Sept. 23-25. Ballard could start when the Orioles face the New York Yankees in their final road series of the year.
Oates had indicated earlier this week that the club might deviate slightly from its original intent, which was to turn the remaining month of the season over to the pitching youth movement. Left-hander Arthur Rhodes won't start every fifth day, but he still will get at least two more starts. The addition of Ballard during the final week of play will set up the rotation so that Jose Mesa, Ben McDonald and Bob Milacki start the final three games at Memorial Stadium.
Davis home to open soon
First baseman Glenn Davis said yesterday that his Carpenter's Way Ranch for Boys probably will open at the end of October.
The facility, in Columbus, Ga., is close to completion. The next steps are administrative, but Davis is close to realizing his dream of providing a place for troubled kids.
"It'll be ready to go by then," he said. "We'll have the house parents, then the screening process will begin with the kids."
Davis is planning an opening ceremony and perhaps a fund-raising golf tournament. The actual dates are to be determined.
Oates on McDonald
Oates indicated that there is nothing to keep right-hander Ben McDonald from pitching the rest of the season, though he is suffering from a slightly bruised shoulder.
"He tells me he's fine," Oates said. "It's a little stiff where he fell. The doctors say he can't hurt himself. Nothing's wrong with it. He's just sore."
Horn forcing the issue
Designated hitter Sam Horn wasn't supposed to be in the starting lineup all week, but he wouldn't have it any other way. He entered last night's game with four homers in his previous 13 at-bats and 6-for-16 on the homestand with five runs and eight RBI.
"It's kind of hard to sit him down when he's hitting the way he is," Oates said.
Horn just might be entrenching himself in a reserve role, even as he tries to prove he deserves more playing time. He came back from a long layoff to drive in runs in five of six games, more proof that he is not adversely affected by extended inactivity.
"I don't know what role is best for him," Oates said. "He has shown he can come off the bench and hit. But they kid him about being all or nothing, and that's the way he is. When he's hot, he can do a lot for you. When he's cold, he can't do anything for you."
Tonight, the Orioles will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Frank Robinson's 500th home run and the 29th anniversary of Tom Cheney's major-league record 21-strikeout game against the Orioles. Robinson and Cheney will take part in pre-game ceremonies. Fans will get a poster commemorating Robinson's home run, which was hit here on Sept. 13, 1971.