Anderson hopes to play despite muscle strain

CLEVELAND — CLEVELAND -- Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson left last night's game with a strained right hamstring, but manager Johnny Oates said the extent of the injury won't be known until today.

Anderson said the problem occurred when he beat out a drag bunt in the fifth inning.


"I don't think it's real bad," said Anderson, one of two Orioles to appear in all 73 games this season, along with shortstop Cal Ripken.

Anderson said it was possible he could play tonight against right-hander Jason Grimsley, but he was limping noticeably in the Orioles' clubhouse after the game.


If Anderson is unable to play, Oates likely will use Dwight Smith or Jeffrey Hammonds in center, with Jack Voigt or Chris Sabo becoming the third outfielder.

Anderson's injury comes at a time when he is playing outstanding defense in center as the replacement for the injured Mike Devereaux.

Last night, he started a pivotal double play in the fourth, making a running catch on Paul Sorrento's sinking line drive, then throwing out Carlos Baerga at the plate.

Two days before in Toronto, he made a sliding catch on a ball hit by Devon White with a runner on third in the seventh inning of a game the Orioles led, 1-0.

Gomez on sitting streak now

Third baseman Leo Gomez, a streaky hitter throughout his career, has experienced streaky playing time this season.

Gomez played in only five of the Orioles' first 19 games and went 2-for-12 with no home runs and two RBIs. From April 27 through Saturday, Gomez hit .317 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs in 45 games, including a stretch of 37 consecutive games.

But after completing a 10-game hitting streak in which he hit .436 with three home runs and nine RBIs, Gomez went into a 1-for-23 slump through Saturday.


He was not in the starting lineup Sunday night in Toronto or last night in Cleveland. Dwight Smith played left field in both games and Sabo moved from left to third base.

"He looked at the stats and said I'm not hitting good against this guy," said Gomez, who is 2-for-13 lifetime against Indians right-hander Charles Nagy. "I'll be back in there tomorrow [tonight]."

Orioles manager Johnny Oates said "that's part of it."

"I've got to get everybody some playing time," Oates said."

Smith homered Sunday in his second start with the Orioles and TTC was greeted in the dugout as if he were a longtime member of the team.

"He's been very well accepted," Oates said. "He's funny, and he likes to talk and he's a guy who likes his job."


Pitching holding up

Going into last night, the Orioles ranked fifth in the American League with a 4.42 ERA.

And they haven't been padding their totals against weak hitting.

During the recently completed three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the top five hitters in the lineup -- Devon White (2-for-12), Roberto Alomar (5-for-12), Paul Molitor (2-for-12), Joe Carter (0-for-10) and John Olerud (2-for-8) -- combined to hit .204.

Fernandez return date unclear

Although left-hander Sid Fernandez (rib-cage muscle pull) is eligible to come off the disabled list July 4, he won't necessarily be ready to return by then.


"I have no idea when he'll be back," Oates said. "We can't get a handle on it."

Indians pitching shuffle

The Indians placed right-handed reliever Paul Shuey on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Chad Ogea from Triple-A Charlotte. Ogea's name may be familiar to Orioles fans. He's the pitcher who hit outfielder Mike Devereaux in the face with a pitch May 8.


Sabo, a historian of the game who enjoys seeing baseball stadiums for the first time, gave his stamp of approval to Jacobs Field. "I like it," he said. "It's unique and I like that. I like it much better than the new stadium in Texas." . . . Inherited runner totals for Orioles relievers: Tom Bolton (19 inherited runners, five scored); Mark Eichhorn (30, five); Alan Mills (36, four); Jim Poole (40, seven); Lee Smith (nine, two), Mark Williamson (21, seven). . . . Led by Anderson (18-for-19) and Mark McLemore (12-for-15), the Orioles have been successful on 41 of 49 stolen base attempts. . . . Of the Orioles' 91 home runs, 63 have come with the bases empty, including both last night and eight of Anderson's nine this season.