O's quickly see errors of their ways


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It took the Orioles almost a week of exhibition games to commit their second error of spring training.

But they made two in the first eight innings of the regular season, along with several other defensive blunders. If the 1995 Orioles are eventually remembered for their excellence in the field, well, that reputation will have to be built over the next 143 games.

"I don't think you're going to see that all year," said catcher Chris Hoiles.

Manager Phil Regan said: "You'll probably see things like this [early in the season] when you have only two or three weeks of spring training."

They weren't getting any hits either against Kevin Appier and " friends, anyway. But defensive lapses led to all of the Royals runs.

* With one out in the top of the sixth inning, Kansas City center fielder Tom Goodwin swung mightily and popped a ball toward short center. Andy Van Slyke hesitated for a moment, fooled by Goodwin's swing, before breaking in. Too late. The ball fell for a single.

* Orioles pitching coach Mike Flanagan has been working with reliever Jamie Moyer on freezing his front leg in the air momentarily, in the hope that potential base stealers will break too early for second base.

That's exactly what Goodwin did, lurching for second the moment that Moyer lifted his leg. Moyer, completing his move, threw deliberately to first, and by the time Rafael Palmeiro got his throw, Goodwin was two-thirds of the way to second.

Palmeiro threw quickly toward second -- right into Goodwin as he began his slide. The ball bounced past Cal Ripken, into left field, and Goodwin advanced to third on Palmeiro's error. With the infield drawn in, Wally Joyner looped a single.

* With a runner on first with two out in the eighth, Royals third baseman Gary Gaetti lofted a high fly to right-center. Van Slyke rushed over from center, calling for the ball and setting himself for the catch. Just one problem. Right fielder Sherman Obando was doing the same thing.

They collided, and the ball popped out of Obando's glove for a two-base error. Instead of ending the inning, the botched fly ball gave the Royals a run and kept the inning alive, and by the time David Howard grounded out to first for the elusive third out, the Royals had scored a second run. Both unearned.

"I called for it in English," Van Slyke said, "he called for it in Spanish, and there was a little miscommunication."

Obando said: "We were both calling for it -- we just didn't hear each other."

Van Slyke, speaking more seriously, said: "Any time there's a misplay in the outfield, I'll take full blame as the center fielder."

Honorable, but not quite fair. On a day of defensive misplays, there was lots of blame to share.

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