Hammonds, after pre-game hit show, to start tonight

Outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds will be inserted into the starting lineup tonight, probably in left field, manager Johnny Oates said.

Hammonds, who was reactivated Thursday after being on the disabled list since May 10 with a strained right knee, returns to the club after a week of extended spring training in Florida.


"Everything's all right, as far as I know," said Hammonds, who will fill the roster spot of Mike Devereaux, who was placed on the disabled list with a right hamstring pull.

Hammonds, who peppered the outfield and the stands with shots during early batting practice, came in to play right field in the eighth inning last night.


Hammonds will have to play for a time with a light knee brace for the first time in his athletic career, but he said he didn't expect it to affect his running ability.

The rookie outfielder was scheduled to return to the team Thursday night from Florida, but a connecting flight that was to leave Cincinnati at 2:30 p.m. was delayed for seven hours by thunderstorms.

Union matters

Pitcher Jim Poole, who represented Orioles players at this week's players association meetings in Chicago, said he plans to speak informally about the union's response to the owners' proposal, which includes a request for a salary cap.

"I have no doubt that there's unity [among players] on this," said Poole, a member of the association's executive board. "I don't know if the owners can say that. More likely, they have to say that because of their history."

Smith's first start

Outfielder Dwight Smith, who was acquired this week in a trade from the California Angels, made his first start in left field.

"I've played it here before [with the Angels]. I'm ready," said Smith, who was the only Oriole not to teach base safely last night.


Smith, who can play all three outfield posts, rated Boston's Fenway Park as the trickiest left field.

"I've had some tough times there," said Smith, who is in his first American League season after five years with the Chicago Cubs. "It's like playing short, short left field, especially with that wall. It was a little different."

Smiths ahoy

With this week's addition of Smith to the roster, the Orioles have set a major-league record with four players (Lonnie, Lee and Mark) named Smith on the team in one year, according to the team's public relations department. Mark Smith was sent back to Rochester June 2.

Four previous teams, the 1957 St. Louis Cardinals (Bob, Bobby Gene, Hal), the 1958-59 Cardinals (Bill, Bobby Gene, Hal), the 1988-89 Atlanta Braves (Lonnie, Pete, Zane) and the 1990-92 Cardinals (Ozzie, Lee, Bryn) had three Smiths each.

Coaching clinic


Four Orioles coaches will conduct a youth skills clinic today at the James Mosher Elementary School at 2400 Mosher St. in West Baltimore from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Batting coach Greg Biagini, pitching coach Dick Bosman, bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks and first base coach Davey Lopes will teach youngsters aged 6-12. The clinic is free and open to the public.

Draft signings

The Orioles announced the signing of six players from this nTC month's amateur draft, including third-round pick Roger Worley and fourth-round pick Jason Rogers, both pitchers.