CLEVELAND -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Brown was fined an undisclosed amount by manager Phil Regan after a confrontation during Friday night's game.
The incident occurred after Regan replaced Brown with reliever Mark Lee in the seventh inning. Brown was pitching with two outs and a runner on first when Albert Belle hit a roller along the first base line. Brown misplayed the ball and was charged with an error.
With switch-hitting Eddie Murray coming up, Regan came out of the dugout and called for left-hander Lee, wanting Murray to hit right-handed, his weaker side at the plate. As Regan reached the mound, Brown flipped the ball into the air and stalked off the mound.
Regan caught the ball with an angry snap of his hand, and after Lee arrived from the bullpen, Regan immediately followed Brown into the runway that runs from the dugout to the clubhouse. According to some in the vicinity, Regan went nose-to-nose with the pitcher, and fined him on the spot.
Regan acknowledged that he was angered when Brown flipped him the ball and that he had fined the pitcher, but wouldn't comment further. "It's over and it's forgotten as far as I'm concerned," he said.
Brown said: "It was pretty obvious I was upset at myself for not making the play [on Belle's grounder]. I've never tried to show up anybody in my life. If people want to misread things, there's nothing I can do about that.
"Beyond that, I'm not going to say anything more."
The morning after
The city of Cleveland partied until the wee hours of yesterday morning, after the Indians won their first title of any kind since 1954, clinching the AL Central title Friday night against the Orioles.
Judging by the appearance of many of the Indians yesterday morning, their celebration was, to say the least, intense. But they played well in beating the Orioles.
"It doesn't surprise me," said Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove. "This team, when it comes to the ballpark and shows up, they're ready to play."
L Which led to this follow-up question: Did everybody show up?
"I didn't check," Hargrove said laughing. "I was at the park until 2:30. It was easier to get into bed than to get out."
Center fielder Kenny Lofton, second baseman Carlos Baerga and catcher Sandy Alomar were the only three regulars to sit out. Murray was out of the lineup, but he likely would have sat anyway, because left-hander Rick Krivda started for the Orioles.
Shortstop Omar Vizquel actually asked to play, but admitted afterward that playing the game had been a labor. "It was kind of hard for me to concentrate," he said. "I was going through the motions a little bit. I didn't get too much sleep. We were celebrating kind of late."
Third baseman Jim Thome said: "It would have been nice to have an off day. We could've celebrated harder.
"But that's not the dance" -- Thome meant the World Series -- "that's not the final show. We've completed one part of our program. If you're going to go, you go all the way and do it all, and I like our chances."
Haynes headed to rotation
The Orioles will call up catcher Cesar Devarez and pitcher Jimmy Haynes when Triple-A Rochester is finished in the International League playoffs, and it's likely Haynes will assume a spot in the rotation -- perhaps supplanting Jamie Moyer, who has been hit hard the past month.
The Orioles had talked about promoting outfielder Sherman Obando as well, but they seemed to be leaning against that now. Some front-office members haven't been pleased with the way Obando has gone about his work since being demoted to Rochester in May.
Around the horn
Regan said he will go with Bret Barberie as his second baseman, with Manny Alexander out of action. Alexander severely pulled his left groin muscle on Friday night, and is doubtful he'll play again this year. Assuming he doesn't, Alexander finishes the season with a .236 average, three homers, 23 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He ended with something less than a bang, hitting .159 since July 20. Alexander says he'll be ready to play winter ball. . . . Right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds stepped into the batting cage Friday, but was told to get out by hitting coach Lee May. The Orioles have yet to clear Hammonds, coming back from a strained trapezius muscle, for live batting practice. . . . Ben McDonald said his shoulder felt good yesterday, the day after he made his second simulated start for Triple-A Rochester. McDonald could return to start next Wednesday against Boston and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. He felt his command was much, much better in his second start. "When I was missing out of the strike zone," he said, "I was missing down, rather than missing up."
HITS AND MISSES
On the field: It's beginning to look as if standing ovations for Cal Ripken, who played in his 2,133rd consecutive game, are going to be the norm for the rest of this year. The Jacobs Field crowd stood and hollered for him when he came to bat, for a full minute, and would not stop until he acknowledged them with a wave of his hand.
In the dugout: In most cases when a team clinches a division title -- especially with a night game -- almost all regulars are excused from the lineup the next day. But Cleveland clinched so quickly that it didn't have its full complement of September roster additions from the minor leagues (Triple-A Buffalo is still participating in the American Association playoffs). So Indians manager Mike Hargrove had to play many of his regulars, including left fielder Albert Belle, right fielder Manny Ramirez and third baseman Jim Thome.
In the clubhouse: "He actually has pitched pretty well for us. He's pitched well enough to stay in the rotation." -- Orioles manager Phil Regan, on his plans for left-hander Rick Krivda, the losing pitcher in yesterday's 2-1 loss.