Ripken, ump at odds, but streak fine


Cal Ripken got into a heated dispute with second base umpire Jim Evans after a first-inning play last night, but even if the Orioles shortstop had been thrown out of the game, his consecutive-games streak would have continued.

"Once he starts the game, he could do anything, but the streak would stay intact," Evans said after the game. "The streak never entered my mind."

The play occurred in the Royals' six-run first, when Ripken appeared to tag out Wally Joyner, who had overrun second base after hitting a double to right. Ripken was visibly angry when Joyner was called safe, and manager Phil Regan came out to argue the call as well.

"Joyner's heel was on the base when Ripken's glove was on the bag," Evans said. "Joyner came up to the bag and he still had his foot on the base when he was tagged."

Ripken was unavailable to comment after the game.

Rule 10.24C would have applied to Ripken had he been ejected. When a player is ejected before he can complete a half-inning in the field or come to bat, his streak will continue, the rule book states.

Ripken has been thrown out of games in the first inning twice during the streak, Sept. 25, 1987, and Aug. 7, 1989. Both times he was tossed after arguing a called strike.

Manto activated

Third baseman Jeff Manto, who surprised many with his 12 homers and 30 RBIs in the first half, was taken off the 15-day disabled list before the game.

"I feel fine," Manto said. "I have no pain when I run. I think if anything, it's going to be more of a mental than a physical adjustment. I just need to get some quality at-bats, and hopefully everything will fall in line like it did in the first half."

The decision to activate Manto was made after assistant general manager Frank Robinson watched him sprint yesterday afternoon.

"I was looking to see if he was running naturally -- and he was," Robinson said. "There was no hesitation in his stride and I didn't see anything that would hold him back."

Manto, who was on the DL with a strained left hamstring, will be in the starting lineup today, after playing one game with the Bowie Baysox and two with the Frederick Keys.

Manto will fill the roster spot vacated by the recently released Sid Fernandez, who was signed by the Phillies yesterday and is scheduled to start for Philadelphia on Sunday.

With Ben McDonald coming off the DL today, and Kevin Brown scheduled to start on Monday, the Orioles are expected to send down reliever Joe Borowski and perhaps one other pitcher.

Eichhorn gives arm first test

Reliever Mark Eichhorn threw for the first time this year on Wednesday, but he is still a long way from returning to the bullpen.

"I just threw lightly on the side for five minutes," said Eichhorn, who had a slightly torn right rotator cuff surgically repaired Feb. 8. "I guess I'll do that for a while, build up to the bullpen and then I guess I'll get sent on a rehab assignment."

None of that will be any time soon. Orioles manager Phil Regan said there is no timetable set for Eichhorn's recovery, but he may be back in the majors in September. Regan said Eichhorn will be a prime candidate for winter ball.

"If [Eichhorn] comes back at all this year for us, it will be a bonus," Regan said.

Palmeiro backs AL choice

Rafael Palmeiro was in Texas for the All-Star Game, but he wasn't at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Palmeiro, who lives in Texas, was contacted by American League officials after Sunday's game in Chicago, when AL first baseman Mark McGwire was taken off the All-Star roster due to a concussion. However, Seattle's Tino Martinez was selected to replace McGwire.

"They told me to stick around, but inside I knew Tino would be picked," said Palmeiro, who broke out of an 0-for-25 drought with an RBI double and two-run homer last night. "I thought he deserved it more than me."

Zaun enjoys uncle's TV 'goof

Catcher Greg Zaun had his eyes fixed on the bullpen during the All-Star telecast. Not because he was trying to pick up pointers, but to get a good look at his uncle, former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey, who worked the game for ABC.

Dempsey had his nephew rolling during his interviews from the bullpen, including one spot in which Dempsey introduced Chicago Cubs reliever Randy Myers as "my man over here."

"He's such a goof," Zaun said. "Rick looked like he had fun, that's just him. He's a big ham, that's what he is. But levity is good. That's exactly what ABC expected when they signed him."

Auction set for July 29

The Orioles Wives Auction to benefit the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Baltimore Orioles Foundation will be held July 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Oriole Park.

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