Bill Ripken hit by pitch, forehead bruised

Orioles second baseman Bill Ripken was hit in the head in the second inning of last night's game by a fastball from Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Alex Fernandez.

Ripken suffered a bruise to the left side of his forehead. He left the game immediately and was taken to University Hospital for precautionary X-rays and a CT scan, and both tests were negative.


He also was examined in the Orioles training room by team doctors Charles Silberstein and Marshall Levine.

Ripken returned to the clubhouse after the game, but did not talk to reporters.


Manager Johnny Oates said Ripken was "OK," and did not suffer a concussion.

Oates said Ripken would likely be available for duty today, but Mark McLemore is expected to start at second.

"He wasn't feeling too good," said Oates of Ripken. "He had a little bit of a headache, his eyes were kind of wobbly, he was a little bit dizzy. The trainer asked him to swallow and he did. I don't know what that means, but it must be good if he did it."

Last night was the second time this season Ripken had been hospitalized. On April 22, he was hospitalized along with Randy Milligan in Kansas City, Mo., after a scary collision knocked Milligan unconscious. Ripken was released that evening, but Milligan remained hospitalized for a day.

"He's never been a lucky player and never will be the way he plays. The way he mistreats his body, he's always going to bang up his body," said Oates.

Odd man out?

It's no secret that Glenn Davis' return after 25 games will force some lineup juggling by manager Johnny Oates.

One of the players who will be affected is Sam Horn, who may go from designated hitter to designated sitter if Davis and Milligan divide first base/DH duties.


But Horn said yesterday that he's not worried about possibly heading to the bench.

"I know I'm going to play. Certain players like Cal Ripken or Mike Devereaux or even Brady Anderson are pretty much going to play every day," said Horn.

"Other players will play according to statistics. You just play. I'm just happy to be a part of this and when I'm not playing, I cheer."

Since Davis was reactivated after Monday's game, Horn has responded by going 7-for-14 in five games, with his first career triple and three runs driven in, including a key RBI in Thursday's dramatic 5-4 comeback win over Minnesota.

"It's just a coincidence," Oates said of the timing of Horn's hot streak. "I hope he doesn't need that to motivate him. Sam's just in a hot streak right now."

In a related development, Oates said Davis, who has either pinch hit or been the designated hitter since his return, may start at first base today, his first field appearance since Opening Day.


Spinning the turnstiles

With a crowd of more than 40,000 expected today, the Orioles predict that the current 10-game homestand, which ends today, will be the best attended in club history.

Including last night's crowd of 45,175, another sellout, 375,495 had attended the first nine games of the homestand. The club record for a 10-game homestand is 392,003, achieved June 8-18, 1990.

Picking them off

Though he gave up the game-winning homer to former Auburn teammate Frank Thomas in the ninth Friday night, Gregg Olson could find solace in the fact he got his first career pickoff.

Olson picked off pinch runner Joey Cora in the 10th after three straight throws to first.


Last season, base stealers were successful in 13 of 14 attempts while he was on the mound. So, Olson worked with pitching coach Dick Bosman in the winter Instructional League on developing a better pickoff move, as well as shortening his delivery.

"Every day, we went over a new aspect for 15 or 20 minutes or so," said Olson. "Then, I'd make some throws to first, then some throws to second."

Clemente award nomination

Cal Ripken has been nominated by the team for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented each year by Major League Baseball to the player who best exemplifies the game, on and off the field.

Brooks Robinson and Ken Singleton won the award in 1972 and 1982, respectively. Pitcher Rick Sutcliffe won the award while he was with the Chicago Cubs in 1987.

B6 The winner will be announced at the All-Star Game.


To hair is human

Until yesterday, Leo Gomez had been sporting a mustache and a bit of a beard, but he decided to get rid of both before last night's game.

"I look too ugly with it," said Gomez, who was hitting .258 with the facial hair and went 1-for-4 clean-shaven last night. "I might bring it back later in the year."

Apparently the beard wasn't aesthetically pleasing to outfielder Brady Anderson, the team's style maven who is sporting Luke Perry sideburns himself.

@4 "He told me I've got an ugly beard," said Gomez.