Left out so far, O's keep up search for more hitting

MILWAUKEE — MILWAUKEE -- Orioles general manager Roland Hemond took the morning train from New York to Baltimore yesterday and resumed wearing out the dial pad on his telephone.

Hemond talked yesterday with club officials from the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres and California Angels, he acknowledged.


"You continue to talk with clubs, but that doesn't mean anything is close," Hemond said.

The Orioles are in the market for a left-handed-hitting outfielder and have tried to acquire Dave Martinez from the Giants, Milt Thompson from the Phillies and Dwight Smith from the Angels.


"We've been talking about getting a left-handed hitter, but it seems like every time we talk about a guy, something happens so we don't get him," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said.

The Orioles have played the entire season without a left-handed hitter on their bench, an imbalance that became more of an issue after right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds went on the disabled list with a strained knee ligament.

Missing Hammonds' bat, speed, glove and enthusiasm, the Orioles recently lost seven games in an eight-game stretch, scoring just 20 runs.

The three-game series between the Orioles and the Milwaukee Brewers that opened last night at sparsely populated County Stadium pitted the only two American League teams that had not scored more than 200 runs.

The Orioles, who won last night, 5-3, behind home runs by Mark McLemore and Jack Voigt, ranked 10th with 44 home runs, 12th in the AL with a .422 slugging percentage and 12th with a .332 on-base percentage.

Oates declined to use the Hammonds injury as an excuse for the Orioles' offensive woes.

He pointed instead to the lack of production from one-third of the regulars who are hitting way below their career averages.

Leadoff hitter Brady Anderson is batting .224 after going 2-for-5 last night. Mike Devereaux, dropped from second to eighth in the order, went 2-for-3 and is batting .200, and catcher Chris Hoiles (0-for-4) is batting .205.


"If the top two guys were getting on and everybody else was hitting the way they should be hitting, nobody would be talking about how much we miss Jeffrey," Oates said. "We need more than one or two guysgetting hits."

The Orioles opened the season with a lineup featuring eight players who had driven in at least 70 runs in a season and seven players who had driven in 80.

An impressive lineup on paper, which, of course, means nothing.

"Names don't win ballgames," Oates said. "Production does."

San Diego ace Andy Benes continues to top their trade wish list in the pitching department.

Left-hander Arthur Rhodes was sent to the minors over the weekend, and Jamie Moyer's ERA has ballooned to 6.39.


At the moment, Oates' mind is not on bolstering the rotation.

"We've given up the fewest runs in the league and we're second-last in runs scored," Oates said. "I don't think pitching is a problem right now."