Myers gets surprise call Benitez gets calming force

Armando Benitez had been there before. Jimmy Myers had never seen it.

Both relief pitchers arrived in the Orioles' clubhouse yesterday.


The Orioles recalled Benitez and purchased Myers' contract from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday night after Ben McDonald (sore right shoulder) and Kevin Brown (dislocated right index finger) were put on the 15-day-disabled list.

Manager Phil Regan said Myers will be used in middle relief and Benitez in middle relief and as a setup man. Benitez pitched a scoreless eighth inning last night, with two strikeouts and one walk.


The call-up shocked Myers, who figured if he pitched well he might join the Orioles in September. September came in June for the right-hander, who was 0-1 with six saves, a 1.44 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings for the Red Wings.

Myers, who has spent time in the Giants, Royals and Pirates organizations, received the news Thursday from Rochester manager Marv Foley. Except that Myers didn't believe it was Foley because his caller-identification system identified Foley's number as belonging to Thomas Columbo.

"I thought somebody was fooling with me," Myers said.

Foley was renting the house from Columbo, and he finally convinced Myers that he was going to Baltimore.

Benitez went with him -- he was 1-0 with three saves, a 0.00 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings pitched at Rochester since being demoted June 8. The night before his demotion, Benitez cleared out his locker after giving up a grand slam to Seattle's Edgar Martinez and hitting Tino Martinez with the next pitch.

First baseman Rafael Palmeiro wants to make sure such an incident will not happen again.

Shortly after Benitez arrived yesterday and put his things in a locker next to third base coach Steve Boros, Palmeiro told Benitez, "You can be near me."

Palmeiro moved Benitez's nameplate to a locker next to hitting coach Lee May's and three lockers away from Palmeiro's. Then he picked up clothes hangers, T-shirts and uniforms belonging to Benitez and put them in his new locker.


Congrats from Uncle Rick

Greg Zaun spoke with his uncle, Rick Dempsey, yesterday morning -- three days after appropriating Dempsey's No. 24 and one day after Dempsey called to try to congratulate his nephew on his promotion to the Orioles.

Zaun reached Dempsey -- the manager of the the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque, N.M. -- in Vancouver, British Columbia. "He told me to work hard, keep my mouth shut and do what they tell me to do," Zaun said. "Basically, congratulations."

Since he's managing on the West Coast, Dempsey won't get much of a chance to see Zaun play. "I've got to make the highlights on ESPN," Zaun said. "I've got to do something good to get on TV."

Alexander gets a rest

Second baseman Manny Alexander was not in the lineup last night -- not that he hasn't played well, but Bret Barberie had not started since June 4.


Alexander has hit .302 with eight runs, three doubles and three stolen bases in his past 15 games. Thursday night, Alexander made a nice play on a fifth-inning ground ball by Lee Tinsley, ranging far to his left and throwing Tinsley out at first.

Although he came up as a shortstop, Alexander is getting more comfortable at second base. "When you make a nice play, save a run, it makes you feel good," Alexander said. "I feel more comfortable because I've gotten more playing time."

Alexander said shortstop is more reactionary; at second base you have to let the play develop in front of you. "Everything in second is back, everything in shortstop is in front of you," Alexander said.

Red Sox moves

The Red Sox made some moves of their own after Thursday's game. They sent outfielder Mark Whiten to Triple-A Pawtucket to bTC get him some more at-bats, and they purchased the contract of outfielder Matt Stairs. Boston also demoted right-hander Joe Hudson and recalled right-handed pitcher Frankie Rodriguez.



Baltimore fans who responded to a Sundial call-in telephone survey overwhelmingly opposed the city's near ban on individuals selling Orioles tickets near Camden Yards. Three callers were in favor of the restriction, and 164 said people who have Orioles tickets should be able to sell them anywhere they like.