SEATTLE -- Orioles left fielder Brady Anderson, teammate and friend of shortstop Cal Ripken, is perplexed by the handful of columnists suggesting that Ripken should end his consecutive-games streak when he ties or comes within a game of Lou Gehrig's record.
Robert Lipsyte wrote this in the New York Times on July 30, and yesterday Larry King did the same for USA Today. Anderson disagrees strongly.
"[Ripken] is not lessening the memory of Lou Gehrig," Anderson said. "If anything, he's making people remember Lou Gehrig. Lou Gehrig is probably being talked about more than ever right now.
"And they're assuming that nobody will ever approach the record again. So is the next guy who comes along and plays every day supposed to tie Gehrig's and Cal's record and stop?"
On top of that, Anderson said, sitting out for the sake of a record "goes against every reason why he's accomplished the streak. Why would he take a day off and hurt our team when we're trying to win? His being part of the lineup is not a gift. It's something he's earned.
"What, Hank Aaron should've stopped at 714 homers? Pete Rose should've stopped when he tied Ty Cobb's record? When does it stop?"
Anderson paused and thought for a moment.
"Wonder whose record Lou Gehrig broke," he said. "Everett Scott, right?"
"He had a lot of nerve," Anderson said, facetiously.
Smith replaces Goodwin
As expected, the Orioles placed center fielder Curtis Goodwin on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 20 -- his left index finger was mashed by a pitch as he held the bat on a bunt Saturday night -- and called up outfielder Mark Smith from Triple-A Rochester.
Smith, called up and returned to the minors after seven at-bats just a few weeks ago, was hitting .277 with 12 homers and 66 RBIs for the Red Wings.
Smith found out about his promotion after Rochester's game Sunday night, and was told that he would be in the starting lineup last night against Seattle Mariners ace left-hander Randy Johnson.
Smith and Johnson are University of Southern California alumni. "He's a Trojan, so maybe he'll take it easy on me," said Smith, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Johnson and singled in the ninth off reliever Jeff Nelson.
The Orioles could face as many as five left-handers in the next week, and Orioles manager Phil Regan indicated that Smith may play regularly.
Smith said: "That's all I want, just a chance. Hopefully, things will work out and I'll get some opportunities."
He may be with the Orioles to stay . . . for the rest of this season, anyway. Rosters expand Sept. 1.
Want to sit out, Cal?
Rafael Palmeiro and Harold Baines were out of the lineup against Johnson. Regan asked Ripken, jokingly, if he wanted the night off.
"He said he might next time. Not this time," Regan said, laughing.
In recent weeks, Regan acknowledged, he has thought more and more of the streak anytime he sees Ripken involved in a play that could lead to injury -- when Ripken turns a double play, or gets hit by a pitch.
"The closer you get, the more you think about [an injury]. Like when he fouls a ball off his foot," Regan said.
Regan used Scott Erickson out of the bullpen last night in the eighth inning and will start the right-hander against the California Angels on Friday, as scheduled.
Regan wants Erickson, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings Sunday, to throw and keep his arm in shape. Erickson, who hasn't pitched past the fourth inning in three of his past four starts, wasn't particularly sharp last night, either, giving up a bases-empty home run to Ken Griffey, a double to Edgar Martinez and a walk to Jay Buhner in his lone inning of work.
Around the horn
Ben McDonald said he felt OK yesterday, the day after an extended bullpen workout. "I think we're definitely taking steps forward, for the first time in a while," he said. Should McDonald be available in a couple of weeks, there's no certainty he'll immediately return to the rotation. Regan has talked about using him out of the bullpen. . . . Regan said left-hander Rick Krivda and minor-league reliever Joe Borowski plan to pitch in winter ball this year, and Arthur Rhodes may do the same. What about right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds, injured for much of this season? "That's a possibility," Regan said. The Orioles have asked Goodwin to go, but he's reluctant because he played winter ball last year and may want a break. . . . Regan on Goodwin's freakish injury: "Amazing game, isn't it? You understand why Cal's streak is so great." . . . A baseball source said that if San Francisco hadn't traded reliever Dave Burba to Cincinnati, the Giants would have traded him to the Orioles. Burba has gone 4-0 since joining the Reds. . . . Anderson, who has struggled against left-handers this year, was 2-for-3 against Johnson.