Oates, Hendricks to help Gaston with AL All-Stars

TORONTO — TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston made good on a spring training promise this week when he invited Orioles manager Johnny Oates to be on the American League coaching staff for the All-Star Game at Camden Yards.

Gaston, who will manage the AL All-Stars in the midseason classic, had said during the final week of training camp that Oates should be included on the coaching staff. He extended his personal invitation Thursday, and also invited Orioles bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks to help out.


Hendricks will not be an official member of the coaching staff, but he will be in uniform for the event. It will be his second All-Star appearance in a coaching capacity. He acted as the AL batting practice pitcher and bullpen coach for the 1982 All-Star Game in Montreal.

The AL coaching staff also will include Oakland Athletics manager Tony La Russa and Blue Jays coaches Galen Cisco, Gene Tenace and John Sullivan.


Gaston and Oates were teammates with the Atlanta Braves in 1975, but the invitation was based more on the fact that the game will be held at Oriole Park.

"I asked Oates and he said he would be happy to do it," Gaston said. "I felt that with it being at his ballpark, he should be asked."

Gaston earned the honor of managing by leading his team to the AL pennant last year. Oates said he hopes that he can someday be in the same position.

"I told him, 'Thank you for the honor and I'd be flattered to do it,' " Oates said. "I hope someday I can reciprocate."

Linton back to haunt

The Blue Jays optioned right-hander Scott Brow to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs and recalled starting pitcher Doug Linton to start today's game against Orioles right-hander Rick Sutcliffe.

Linton defeated the Orioles in the final game of a four-game series at SkyDome last year, giving up three hits over eight innings in his first major-league start. That remains his only major-league victory.

Oates on McDonald


Right-hander Ben McDonald gets a lot of mileage out of his happy-go-lucky attitude, but Oates hinted that he would like to see him get a little more serious at the ballpark.

"There's a time for being young and a time for being mature," Oates said. "One of the great things about my job is that I get to be around guys who are 21 years old. It keeps you young. But there's also a time to be mature."

McDonald remains a mystery to club officials. He is one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, but he has not developed at quite the rate the club might have expected when it made him the No. 1 draft pick in 1989.

Buford homer revisited

The Orioles aren't getting overly excited about Damon Buford's first major-league home run. He is not projected to be a power hitter, even if he did give the ball quite a ride in the fourth inning Thursday night.

"He had everything going for him," Oates said. "He had a nice little drift going for him out there and [Scott] Brow probably got a little more of the plate than he wanted to. But who knows? He's only 21 years old. His dad [Don Buford] hit a few home runs. Who knows how much he might develop."


Obando doesn't surprise

The three-hit performance by Sherman Obando on Thursday night figured to solidify his chances of increased playing time, but Oates did not seem surprised.

"I've liked what I've seen ever since I first saw him swing the bat," Oates said. "My opinion of him hasn't changed."