Auditions are open for final weeks


The Orioles are now in full audition mode, looking ahead to 1996, with less than three weeks remaining in the season, and this is who's on display:

* Bobby Bonilla, at third base. "I'd like to see him for a stretch of time, and see if he can play third base," said Orioles manager Phil Regan. "Personally, I think he can, if we just leave him there, instead of switching him around."

The Orioles' desire to get a long look at Bonilla at third probably is affected by the scarcity of third basemen in the open market. If Bonilla sticks at third, that would open up an outfield spot, to acquire someone like Sammy Sosa or Ron Gant.

* Playing Bonilla at third enables rookie Mark Smith to get regular playing time in right field. "He's looked good so far," Regan said over the weekend in Cleveland. "We'd like to get him more chances."

* Joe Borowski may get an opportunity to close games, in place of Doug Jones. "I want to see what he can do in that situation," Regan said. The Orioles hold a '96 option on Jones' contract, and it's highly unlikely they would begin next year with Borowski as the closer. But they'd like to see how he fares in late-inning pressure situations.

* Curtis Goodwin, in the leadoff spot. Regan said over the weekend Goodwin needs to be more selective, take more pitches and draw more walks to be a major-league leadoff hitter.

The move to the top of the order seems to be agreeing with Goodwin. He had a walk and two hits Monday night and two more hits (but two strikeouts) last night.

* Regan said he's been trying to pitch Armando Benitez in late-inning situations, but when he has, Benitez has been hit hard. "I think what he needs to work on now," Regan said, "is his control."

How? "Innings," Regan said. "He needs to pitch more innings, and improve his concentration."

Ripken rainout revisited

Back in May, a game between the Orioles and Boston Red Sox was rained out. Because of Cal Ripken's consecutive-game streak, Mike Greenwell, the Red Sox's assistant player representative, and Orioles player representative Mike Mussina agreed to have the makeup on the earliest possible date, Aug. 10, a rare off day for both teams.

In the end, it didn't make a difference, but having watched highlights of Games No. 2,130 and No. 2,131, Greenwell was pleased the effort was made.

"It shows people care about the game," he said. "We felt that what Cal was doing was very important for the game. If we played, it was important, not only for Cal and the Orioles, but it was important for the game. I was real happy with what we did, really happy."

Around the horn

Former Orioles left-hander Vaughn Eshelman was restored to the Red Sox's rotation, in place of Zane Smith, and there's a chance Eshelman could be part of Boston's postseason roster. . . . David May Jr., 28, son of former Oriole Davey May, was named a scout for the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks, who will begin play in 1998.

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