Mussina's flu alters rotation again


SEATTLE -- For the second time this week, Mike Mussina has been scratched from his scheduled start. As a result, the Orioles have had to rearrange their starting rotation for the weekend series in Oakland, just as they were forced to do for the three games here against the Seattle Mariners.

Originally scheduled to pitch the first game of the road trip Monday, Mussina missed his turn because of a stomach virus. He was rescheduled to open the series against the Athletics tomorrow night, but his return has been pushed back at least until Tuesday night, when the Orioles face the California Angels.

Mussina, who last pitched a week ago against the A's iBaltimore, has lost 6 pounds during the illness that hit him at home last weekend. He has been unable to participate in daily workouts, and it was feared he wouldn't be strong enough in time to face Oakland.

"It wouldn't be fair to run him out there without giving him a chance to build up his strength," said manager Johnny Oates. "Right now, he hardly has enough energy to pack [his suitcase].

"He told me he had to rest after spending 15 minutes packing [yesterday]. If he can't do that, we can't run him out there.

"This way, hopefully he'll be able to get a good workout Friday o Saturday and be ready to pitch Tuesday," said Oates. "But there's no guarantee he'll even be ready by then. I hope he is because I don't have anybody else for Tuesday."

Bob Milacki, who was scheduled to work the second game against the A's, will move up a day and pitch in Mussina's place. The switch also means that Jose Mesa, who replaced Mussina, will make a rare start in a normal rotation. The right-hander, who wasn't supposed to start again until Tuesday, inherits Milacki's spot on Saturday.

Plummer rips Johnson

Seattle manager Bill Plummer blasted his ace pitcher, Randy Johnson, after the left-hander took himself out of Tuesday night's 13-8 loss to the Orioles.

"He quit on us," Plummer said after a closed-door meeting with his pitcher. Plummer told Johnson he owed his teammates an apology.

"He wants to be a leader, he says he wants to be a leader, but he didn'tdo it," said Plummer, who used the Orioles' Rick Sutcliffe as an example of what he was talking about.

"Sutcliffe didn't have much, but he gave his team six innings," said Plummer. "That's an example of veteran leadership. That's the kind of leadership we need."

Orioles to miss Darling

The Orioles aren't the only team juggling its rotation this weekend. The A's announced a change that will keep Ron Darling off the mound until the Boston Red Sox visit Oakland early next week.

Mike Moore (5-3, 4.27) will face Milacki (4-2, 4.83) tomorrow night. Joe Slusarski (4-2, 5.13), originally scheduled to pitch Sunday, moves up a day to face Mesa (1-5, 5.15), with Bob Welch (2-3, 3.00) moving into the Sunday slot against Sutcliffe (6-4, 4.88).

Darling (4-2, 4.07) pitched a two-hit shutout in Boston in his last start and is being held back to face the Red Sox, who come into Oakland on Monday.

Getting even

Ken Griffey was 0-for-10 and Pete O'Brien 0-for-11 lifetime against Ben McDonald before yesterday's game. Griffey singled in the first inning and hit a two-run home run in the third.

In his first at-bat, O'Brien led off the second inning with a double and scored the Mariners' first run. As a group, the Seattle starting lineup was hitting .157 (8-for-51) against McDonald, who had a 2-0 record in three previous starts against the Mariners.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad