Pennant race has Hoiles itching to return


Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles said "it would have been nice to see how this year would have turned out" had he played a full season.

But no one will ever know what kind of numbers Hoiles would have produced had his right wrist not been broken by a pitch from Tim Leary during a June 21 game in which the New York Yankees pitcher was accused of doctoring the baseball.

All the Orioles' No. 1 catcher wants now is to get back into the pennant race. He could be there by the middle of this month.

"It will be fun coming back in this environment," Hoiles said. "We've stayed close. Pennant races, playoffs and World Series are team things. That's more important than anything I might have done personally."

Hoiles was batting .280 with 14 home runs in 62 games and was apparently en route to the All-Star team when he was injured.

"I can't really look back on the All-Star Game," he said. "But I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss being there to see what I could do."

The original prognosis was four to six weeks of healing time, and Hoiles is right on schedule. He probably will require another 1 1/2 to two weeks to return to the Orioles.

"I'll probably take early BP [batting practice] Wednesday," he said. "I'm throwing and hitting off the tee right now. Then, the end of next week, I'll probably go on a rehab assignment."

* RARE DOUBLE: The Orioles are shooting for a double play they haven't achieved since their first World Series championship in 1966: to lead the American League in slugging and fielding. After last night's win, the Orioles lead the AL with a .419 slugging percentage and .986 fielding percentage.

1966 was the only time in club history they have finished first in both categories.

Only four teams have done it in the 25 seasons since: Detroit in 1968 and 1971, Minnesota in 1988 and Toronto in 1990.

* RED WINGS POSTPONED: Last night's Triple-A game in Rochester, N.Y., between the Red Wings and Tidewater Tides was postponed because of a spill from a chemical plant near Silver Stadium. It was a precautionary measure. The stadium was not in direct contact.

The game was rescheduled as part of a twi-night doubleheader tonight at 6.

* AROUND THE HORN: Jack Voigt made his major-league debut in the seventh inning last night as a pinch runner for Randy Milligan. He was doubled off second base on a line drive to shortstop by Joe Orsulak. . . . Last night's sellout was the Orioles' 30th straight and 38th of the season. . . . The 6-3 victory was the Orioles' fourth straight against a left-hander, their longest such streak since 1980, and gave the Orioles the season series with Detroit for only the second time in the past eight years. They are 7-2 against the Tigers and have hit .301 as a team against them.

Orioles wives will hold their charity auction and autograph session to benefit the Johns Hopkins Children's Center on Thursday at Oriole Park starting at 5:30 p.m. . . . Rick Sutcliffe makes his seventh attempt for career win No. 150 tonight. He was 0-5 in six starts last month and last won June 30, 12-3, over Milwaukee. . . . Jim Poole has recorded seven saves at Rochester, the latest for Mike Oquist on Sunday. . . The Tigers recalled P David Haas from Triple-A Toledo to replace injured P Mark Leiter (strained groin) on the roster.

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