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Biagini, bats are left behind Spring Training


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Orioles manager Johnny Oates is not concerned about the lack of offense that limited his club to one hit in yesterday's 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

"We didn't have our hitting coach [Greg Biagini] with us and we were lost without him," Oates said after Orioles notebook

the game. Biagini had remained at the club's complex to run the workout for those not at the game.

"They [the Rangers] got some hits," said Oates, "but several of our guys said they had trouble seeing the ball. It might just have been one of those days."

However, except for occasional bursts, the Orioles haven't hit most of the spring. Their 12-8-1 spring training record is more indicative of how the team has pitched and played defense.

Canseco ends it

Yesterday's game was decided when Jose Canseco lofted a fly ball to right field in the 10th inning that kept carrying until it cleared the fence. Rafael Palmeiro had led off the inning with a single against Jim Poole.

The Orioles' lone hit was a home run by second baseman Harold Reynolds that followed a walk to Leo Gomez in the sixth inning.

Mike Mussina allowed nine hits, but limited the Rangers to two runs in seven innings. Todd Frohwirth pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings before Poole got the last out in the ninth -- and the loss in the 10th.

Brown, Lee doubtful

Two Texas players scheduled to be in the starting lineup are doubtful for Monday's opener against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Right-hander Kevin Brown, sidelined with a stress fracture in the front side of his fourth rib cage muscle, has not pitched since March 16. Shortstop Manuel Lee has a pulled rib cage muscle and hasn't played for a week.

First-year manager Kevin Kennedy said he'll wait until Wednesday, Brown's next scheduled start, before naming his Opening Day pitcher. If the right-hander doesn't make it, ex-Oriole left-hander Craig Lefferts is expected to take his place.


If Lee is unable to play, he'd be replaced by Benji Gil.

Stingy is the word

The St. Louis Cardinals are the only team in baseball with fewer runs (70) than the Orioles (77) this spring.

However, the Orioles have allowed by far the fewest runs during exhibition play. In 21 games, opponents have scored only 50 runs and the Orioles' team ERA is a major-league leading 2.05. Yesterday was only the 10th time that the Orioles have allowed more than two runs in a game.

The team batting average took a pounding, dropping 10 points to .246. Before play yesterday, the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos had the lowest team batting averages at .245 and the California Angels were hitting .246.

McDonald pitches today

Ben McDonald is the scheduled starter for today's game against the Rangers. Tomorrow night, Arthur Rhodes will face the Detroit Tigers.

Rick Sutcliffe will make his final spring appearance Wednesday, when the Orioles play the St. Louis Cardinals. Fernando Valenzuela starts against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

For the exhibition games this weekend, Mussina will pitch Friday's game at Camden Yards and McDonald will start Saturday in Washington's RFK Stadium. Both games will be against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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