Support hits home with Jones


Doug Jones appreciated the comments of Orioles manager Phil Regan, who lauded the closer before Friday's game despite his 5.24 ERA and less-than-amicable relationship with the fans.

That is Jones' only regret. Six of his eight bad outings have come in Baltimore.

"That's the most frustrating thing for me," Jones said. "They don't think I can do the job. They boo me when I come in. I've done the best I can this year."

The nadir of Jones' season came Aug. 1 when he turned a 10-6 lead against Toronto into a 12-10 defeat and left the field after an ugly exchange with fans.

Jones, who later said he regretted responding to the crowd, has no problems with pitching in Baltimore.

"I like the fans here," he said. "They're intelligent. They understand the game. They just don't believe in hiding their feelings."

The Orioles have an option on Jones' contract. He would like to return to Baltimore to show the fans what he can do.

"I'd like to come back, I think that's obvious," Jones said. "It's a matter of economics and politics, with the changes in the front office and who signed who. I've been through that before."

Relievers in waiting

If Jones does not return, Armando Benitez isn't the only possible closer in waiting. Jesse Orosco has said he would like a shot at the job.

But what about Joe Borowski? Regan said that Borowski may have the makings of a closer.

"To have a manager say that he believes you can do it, he has confidence in your abilities, that makes me feel really good," Borowski said. "That makes me feel everything I've done to get to the major leagues has been worthwhile."

Borowski isn't ready to rush into anything.

"I'm just going to do what I can to get some innings in and some experience," Borowski said. "The one thing I've learned in this game, you never want to talk about anything until it happens. Don't expect it to be given to you, you're going to have to earn it."

He said he wouldn't mind "earning" a major-league closer's job one day.

"Closing games," Borowski said, "you get that extra pump of adrenalin pumping through you."

Milestones abound

Of course, Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive-games record, but other Orioles have reached or are reaching milestones this season.

Rafael Palmeiro collected his 700th RBI last night. Harold Baines is two home runs shy of his 300 and Chris Hoiles is two away from 100.

Incidentally, Ripken is fewer than 150 hits shy of 2,500. He has 2,356.

Hoiles to move here

In moving with his new bride to Baltimore after this season, Hoiles said he has more on his mind this than just off-season condition.

Hoiles is looking forward to working out with Ripken, Greg Zaun and former Oriole Joe Orsulak but also wants to enjoy the longer hunting and golf seasons.

B6 "We'd be able to do a lot more here," Hoiles said.

Williams to take leave

Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams, who doubled and homered last night, would have been back in his native Puerto Rico if Hurricane Marilyn hadn't closed the airports there.

Williams' wife, Waleska, recently gave birth to their daughter, and Williams planned on being there.

Williams is scheduled to leave Baltimore for Puerto Rico at 5:45 p.m. today but only if today's game is called by rain, manager Buck Showalter said.

Showalter said if Williams does not go to Puerto Rico today he will accompany the team back to New York and then fly home. Williams may miss tomorrow's game.

Boggs in leadoff

Wade Boggs started in the Yankees' leadoff spot last night after being hampered by a pulled hamstring.

Boggs pinch hit Thursday, driving in the winning run, after he had left Wednesday's game with the injury.

Showalter said Boggs was scheduled to start Friday but pulled himself from the lineup after batting practice.

Boggs was 0-for-3 Friday through six innings and gingerly limped around the bases.

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