Gomez's stiff shoulder is exception, not ruleAvoiding...


Gomez's stiff shoulder is exception, not rule

Avoiding injuries aids team's success

During the course of a season, any baseball team suffers its share of nagging bumps and bruises.

The Orioles are no different, and third baseman Leo Gomez, who was scratched from last night's lineup with a stiff right shoulder, was the latest victim.

But manager Johnny Oates considers himself fortunate that the Orioles haven't had a more serious run of major ailments.

So far, the Orioles have placed three players, pitchers Jim Poole and Mark Williamson and first baseman Glenn Davis, on the disabled list.

"That's amazing," said Oates. "I talked to [Phillies coach] John Vuckovich today, and they average more than that every day. With him, it's somebody new every day."

Fortunately for the Orioles, the numbers of injured have been small, and that's undoubtedly a major reason they have stayed in the American League East race.

Indeed, shortstop Cal Ripken and outfielders Brady Anderson and Mike Devereaux, all among the club's most productive hitters, have been injury-free and have missed no time because of ailments.

"That's one of those big ifs in spring training, 'If we can stay healthy,' " said Oates. "You can put that in front of every team's blurb, 'If we stay healthy.' "

Oates said Gomez hurt his right, or throwing shoulder Friday night diving back to the bag on a pickoff throw, and was unable to throw, though he remained available to hit, if needed.

Poole update

Oates said the club will have to make a decision either 'D Tuesday or Wednesday on the status of Poole, who is finishing a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

Poole, a left-handed reliever, was placed on the disabled list just before the season with tendinitis in his shoulder.

Going to the videotape

Starter Bob Milacki said he'll be studying his last few starts on videotape to determine if he has been tipping off his pitches to opposing batters.

"I just want to look to see if I'm doing something with my glove that tells the hitters what I'm going to throw," said Milacki.

The right hander struggled mightily Friday in his last start, a no-decision in a 10-7 Orioles win over the Yankees. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs and seven hits.

Though he had pitched well in earlier starts this month against California and Boston, earning a no-decision and a win, Milacki gave up six runs in two innings last weekend in a 15-1 thumping in Detroit.

The Yankees were watching videotapes of Milacki's effort at Tiger Stadium in their clubhouse before Friday's game.

Milacki disregarded talk that he had somehow lost some velocity on his pitches.

"If I was winning games, no one would be talking about velocity," said Milacki. "It's more about movement and location."

Give that woman a contract

When the Orioles went looking for temporary replacements for ailing public address announcer Rex Barney, Kelly Saunders hoped they would give her a call.

"I was always hoping someone would auction it off, because I would have bid for it," said Saunders, who last night became the second woman in major-league history to act as PA announcer.

"It never occurred to me that it had never been done by a woman," said Saunders. "I just thought anybody, regardless of gender, would have a chance to do this."

The Orioles had previously announced that Saunders, a reporter at WJZ-TV 13, and a former disc jockey at WIYY (98 FM) was the first woman to announce a game.

But further research uncovered Joy Hawkins McCabe, who, at age 24 announced a Washington Senators-Chicago White Sox at D.C. Stadium in September 1966.

Still, Saunders, who says she has been a big Orioles fan since she arrived in town 13 years ago, said before the game that she was looking forward to the challenge.

"I've been practicing [New York shortstop Andy] Stankiewicz for a couple of days now. This is a dream come true," said Saunders. Official scorer Bill Stetka announced last night that Bill Ripken, who originally had reached base in Friday's third inning on an error to New York second baseman Mike Gallego, should be credited with an infield hit.

As a result of the change, the Orioles should have 14 hits and 10 RBI. Also, Yankees pitcher Jeff Johnson should be charged with an additional hit and two more earned runs to his record.

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