Reserve plan could prevent burnout

The manager has a plan, and sticking to it could help the Orioles stave off the September burnout that has a way of settling in at Camden Yards.

Johnny Oates' plan calls for 10 everyday players filling nine positions, with Chris Sabo swinging between the outfield and third base.


It also allows for playing time for reserves Dwight Smith, Tim Hulett, Jack Voigt and Jeff Tackett.

"The idea is to try to find a way to play the 10 regulars every night and play the other four at least once a week," Oates said. "It's a nice problem to have. I'd much rather have 14 players to choose from for nine spots than to have six to choose from."


A six-game week has 54 starts. Four reserves playing once a week leaves 50 starts for 10 regulars.

Shortstop Cal Ripken and first baseman Rafael Palmeiro start every game, which leaves 38 starts for the remaining eight players. Brady Anderson starts nearly every game, which leaves about 32 starts for the remaining seven players, or, roughly one game off per week with an extra two games to be spread among the four reserves.

Part of Oates' plan also includes giving an extra day of rest to his starting pitchers more often, which would mean not skipping the fifth starter when idle days in the schedule make that possible.

TC "We haven't done that at all the past six weeks," Oates said of Mike Mussina and Ben McDonald. "In July and August, we're going to give them an extra day off whenever possible."

Hammonds rests knee

For the second day in a row, outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds rested his right knee. Hammonds had played every day since coming off the disabled list.

"It helped immensely," Hammonds said of having the day off Tuesday. "I've been on full tilt from the time I was in Florida for 10 days to coming up and playing ever day and slugging around on the wet grass [in Cleveland]. When Johnny told me I had the day off, I wasn't too proud to say, 'Thank you.' "

Trade talks slow


The Orioles' pursuit of a starting pitcher remains on hold. The Kansas City Royals are not willing to part with Tom Gordon because they think they still are in the pennant race.

The Milwaukee Brewers are willing to part with right-handers Bill Wegman and Jaime Navarro, but the Orioles thought the Brewers asked for too much for Wegman and are leery of acquiring Navarro because he has been in the bullpen, draws a $2.4 million salary and is in questionable shape.

The New York Mets, especially since losing Dwight Gooden, are not in any hurry to part with Bret Saberhagen.

The Brewers, in the midst of trade talks with the Orioles concerning Wegman and the Boston Red Sox regarding Navarro, had Steve Sparks in Kansas City ready to be activated in case one of the pitchers was dealt, but since talks broke down, Sparks is scheduled to fly back to rejoin the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate today.

Ochoa, Benitez honored

Outfielder Alex Ochoa and right-handed reliever Armando Benitez, both of the Double-A Bowie Baysox, were named Orioles Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month, respectively.


Ochoa batted .381 with five homers and 24 RBIs in June. He hit two homers in the same inning of a 28-10 win over Harrisburg on June 5.

Benitez was 4-0 with a 0.89 ERA in 12 appearances. He struck out 33 and walked five in 20 1/3 innings.