ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Although manager Johnny Oates won't commit to it, the Orioles appear to have settled into a platoon situation at third base, with Mike Pagliarulo and Tim Hulett sharing most of the playing time.
Pagliarulo, who had performed well in the nine games he has played since joining the club (.367, three home runs, nine RBI), was back in the starting lineup against Oakland right-hander Todd Van Poppel last night and responded with a bases-empty home run in the fourth. Pagliarulo didn't play the last two games of the California series, with Hulett and Leo Gomez starting against left-handers Mark Holzemer and Chuck Finley.
Thursday night's game was the first for Gomez since July 7, but his playing time could be limited. Gomez was 0-for-5 against Finley, against whom he previously had a .538 lifetime average (7-for-13). "He looked a little rusty," said Oates.
Hulett had started 39 of the 46 games since the All-Star break and was hitting .315 (45-for-143) during that stretch. Oates said he will use his "wait-and-see" approach regarding third base.
"I'm going to take it day by day," he said. "It's going to depend on who we're playing, and how they hit against certain pitchers. Both of them [Pagliarulo and Hulett] are playing well."
Oates did not remove Gomez from the equation, but wouldn't say how he fit into the plans. With Pagliarulo having already hit more many home runs (four) with the Orioles than he had in 81 games with the Twins, and Hulett doing a consistent job offensively and defensively, Gomez's opportunities appear to be limited.
Voigt on target exactly
When he joined the Orioles April 29, Jack Voigt couldn't have known how long he would stay, or how much he would play. But that didn't keep him from setting a goal.
"I told myself that if I played enough to get 100 at-bats, I wanted to have 30 hits," said Voigt. "I figured that would show some consistency."
In his first 100 at-bats, Voigt had exactly 30 hits. He went 2-for-8 in the past two games, and his overall overage is now .296.
The Orioles might have found a sleeper in last June's amateur draft. Brian Link, who wasn't drafted until the 32nd round, has been named the organization's Player of the Month.
Link, a product of Austin Peay, hit a combined .407 in August with Rookie League Bluefield and Single-A Frederick. Included in Link's offensive totals were 10 doubles, eight home runs, 24 RBI, 31 runs and 21 walks.
Frederick's Scott Klingenbeck was named Pitcher of the Month by the Orioles' minor-league department. The right-hander was 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA for the month, when the Keys' five starters compiled a 17-7 record with a 2.02 ERA.
Klingenbeck walked nine and struck out 41 in 37 innings during )) August.
Waiting on Hammonds
Jeffrey Hammonds' first game with the Orioles after returning from a rehabilitation assignment proved somewhat inconclusive for Oates. "I still don't know how I'm going to use him," said the manager.
Hammonds had an infield hit in five at-bats Thursday night.
Mark McLemore has a chance to join some exclusive company before the year is over. The right fielder/second baseman leads the Orioles with 46 multi-hit games and is on a pace to finish with 56.
Only six players in Orioles' history have had more than 50 multi-hit games in a season: Cal Ripken, Al Bumbry, Eddie Murray, Ken Singleton, Frank Robinson and Paul Blair. Ripken holds the club record with 73, in 1991.
A's first baseman Mark McGwire, who has missed the past 100 games with a foot injury, was activated yesterday and was available for last night's game. However, once McGwire appears in a game, he will begin a three-game suspension the next day for his part in the bench-clearing brawl between the A's and Milwaukee Brewers Aug. 24. He was on the disabled list at the time, so he has no right to appeal.