Oates looks to rest the weary


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Manager Johnny Oates is in a position to go back to a set lineup, but he is making a concerted effort to assure that everyone is fresh for the remainder of this tough, 10-day road trip.

Left fielder Brady Anderson, who has two hits and 10 strikeouts in 25 career at-bats against left-hander Mark Langston, got last night off, as did designated hitter Harold Baines. Mark McLemore will be out of the lineup today and David Segui and Harold Reynolds get a break during the three-game series in Oakland, which starts tomorrow.

"This weekend could be very fatiguing," Oates said. "I'm talking about the whole situation this weekend. You could bury some people."

Oates was referring to the fact that the Orioles were forced to play a night game on Thursday and fly all night to get to the West Coast for the series with the Angels. The club won three of four games against the New York Yankees to open the trip, and Oates said he hopes that pacing some of his players will give them a chance to finish with a flourish.

"You hope that you can keep them fresh over these six days [on the West Coast]," he said.

He would like to find a way to give shortstop Cal Ripken part of a game off for the same reason. He will not force the issue, but if the club gets blown out of a game, look for Ripken to get a break.

"That just shows you that we haven't been out of very many ballgames this year," Oates said. "We've played 47 games and been in almost every one of them. The fact that Cal has had only two innings off this year just shows you."

Personal tutoring

Ripken continues to work on his mechanics at the plate and he enlisted the help of assistant general manager Frank Robinson yesterday. Robinson spent close to 30 minutes working with Ripken during early batting practice.

Ripken changed his batting stance a week ago, but still is trying to get his batting average moving in the right direction. His average dropped below .200 (.199) for the first time this year on Friday night.

Oates' 11

Oates is happy with his decision to stay with an 11-man pitching staff. He said he feels the added flexibility is one of the reasons the Orioles have been almost immune to lopsided losses so far this year.

"You've got two guys you can go to who can go long if you need them to," he said. "Every night, you've got enough guys so you don't have to get embarrassed. You can go get a starter after three innings if you have to. That's another reason why you can look and we've played 47 games and Cal Jr.'s had only two innings off."

Obando improving

Outfielder Sherman Obando is recovering nicely from the hamstring strain that forced him onto the disabled list last week.

"The first couple of days, it felt so bad that I couldn't even bend it," he said, "but now I'm doing exercises to stretch it out. It's just a matter of getting it strong now."

There's no reason for him to rush, he can't return to the active roster for at least another nine days.

Williamson wakes up

Relief pitcher Mark Williamson had a tough time in Friday's game, but he wrote it off to irregular work and jet lag.

"I was flaking out," he said. "I hadn't pitched in a week and I had been up all night. I made more bad pitches in the course of that game than I had in the last month. You just have to understand the circumstances. I did my best and today's a different day."

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