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Re-ordered lineup suits Ripken


Bobby Bonilla's arrival instantly changed the makeup of the Orioles' lineup. Bonilla hit fourth last night, a spot occupied by Cal Ripken for all but six games before the trade. Manager Phil Regan anticipates Bonilla will bat cleanup on a regular basis.

"Bonilla can do a lot of things," Regan said. "He can hit with power from both sides. He'll fit in real well in our lineup right where he is today."

Ripken said it had made more sense for him to bat fourth before Bonilla's arrival. But, with the new slugger in town, Ripken said he will enjoy hitting fifth.

"It was good to have a righty hit between Rafael [Palmeiro] and [Harold] Baines," Ripken said. "It was good for me personally. But, getting Bonilla, with his power capabilities, he should hit fourth."

Hoiles to return

When Chris Hoiles returns from the disabled list Tuesday, Regan will face some tough decisions. Hoiles could climb behind the plate or spend time as a designated hitter.

Backup Greg Zaun has flourished behind the plate in Hoiles' absence, going 11-for-26 (.423) with two homers and eight RBIs in the eight games. Hoiles said he feels great and is ready to catch, but he wouldn't mind easing his way back until his left hamstring is completely healed.

"It would be nice to start out DH-ing," Hoiles said. "It would be nice for the first few games. Maybe [Regan] will do that with me. It's something he didn't want me to do before."

Regan said he is looking forward to putting Hoiles back in the lineup, but he will see how the catcher feels next week before deciding where he will play. However, Regan also is impressed by Zaun's play, which could complicate his decision.

"Greg has caught well, he's thrown well and he's hit well," Regan said. "His stock has risen not just here, but around the league."

Zaun said he isn't looking to replace Hoiles, and he'd like to stay as the No. 2 guy for quite a while.

"I know why I'm here," Zaun said. "I'm not going to be the everyday starting catcher, but I can plant a seed in their head, and maybe they don't go out and sign a guy like Matt Nokes this year. I know my job."

Little-used catcher Cesar Devarez is likely to go back to Rochester when Hoiles returns.

Boffo for Buford

Friday's trade for Bonilla was especially nice for Orioles assistant farm director Don Buford. His son Damon, who went from Rochester to the New York Mets, will get a shot to play every day in the big leagues, and Don Buford's Orioles improved their lineup with Bonilla.

"Damon is very happy," Don Buford said. "He's in New York and he's going to get a chance to play. It's a good trade for both clubs. They got what they needed."

Damon Buford was playing with Rochester at the time of the trade, but he spent part of three seasons in Baltimore. There is one drawback for Don Buford -- he won't get to see his son play quite so often anymore.

"My wife told me I have to work, and I can't go to New York," Don Buford said. "She'll go up to see him, but I have to bring home the money."


The Orioles are obligated to pay Bonilla $200,000 because of a transaction clause in his contract. . . . The team is making progress with Charles Alley, a second-round pick who was regarded as a tough player to sign going into the draft. Alley, a high school catcher from Florida, worked out with the Orioles before last night's game. . . . Bret Barberie did not start at second base last night because of a sore left shoulder blade, but he pinch hit in the seventh inning and struck out. . . The Orioles sent outfielder Mark Smith to Rochester to make room for Bonilla on the roster. . . . Yesterday's starter, Rick Krivda, was recalled from the Red Wings on Friday night, and reliever Joe Borowski was sent to Triple-A. . . . Katie Foss, 13-year-old daughter of Orioles vice chairman of business and finance Joe Foss, underwent successful heart surgery Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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