DETROIT -- Ben McDonald would've pitched in relief last night had the Detroit Tigers beat on Jimmy Haynes early, or if the Orioles had taken a big lead quick.
But neither the rookie nor McDonald's teammates did him any favors -- Haynes pitching effectively into the eighth inning, and the Orioles scrounging for two runs off Detroit starter Felipe Lira until a four-run eighth. McDonald's first appearance since July 19, then, was delayed again.
Before the game, manager Phil Regan said, "If Jimmy Haynes goes seven, I probably won't pitch Ben. . . . I want to get [McDonald] in a game when he has a chance to warm up for a long time."
Regan might prefer to use McDonald in a nonpressure situation, because McDonald's control has been erratic in his minor-league rehabilitation starts and bullpen workouts.
Orosco, Jones fate awaited
The Orioles must decide by Oct. 31 whether to exercise 1996 options on relievers Jesse Orosco and Doug Jones.
"Personally, I like the job both of them have done," Regan said. "Orosco's taken the ball and he's worked hard and he's been a great influence on the younger pitchers. Jonesy's been the same way. Jones has 22 saves, but if we had won more games, then he might have 35 saves by now."
Jones, who pitched a hitless ninth in last night's 6-2 win, has had few save chances and few chances to pitch in the last six weeks, with only three save opportunities since July 28.
What may factor into the Orioles' thinking is that only two other primary relievers, Boston Red Sox right-hander Rick Aguilera and Chicago Cubs left-hander Randy Myers, will be eligible for free agency this off-season.
Cal worked on speech, too
About a week before consecutive game No. 2,131, Cal Ripken said yesterday, he began preparing his speech, organizing his thoughts and then putting words on paper.
Once he had done that, writing about his mother and his father and his wife and children, Ripken said, he had to practice reading those words aloud "to make it devoid of emotion. . . . It was kind of emotional to get through the first couple of reads."
More advice for Goodwin
Regan met with rookie center fielder Curtis Goodwin again before last night's game, the latest in what has become a regular conference. Regan implored Goodwin to try to concentrate, in the last 12 games of the season, on doing what a leadoff man must do to be successful -- take pitches, draw walks, bunt, etc.
Then Goodwin swung at the game's very first pitch.
Around the horn
Regan said that pitcher Kevin Brown flew to Georgia to be with his wife, who is ailing. Brown will rejoin the team today. . . . Pitcher Mike Mussina had the option of throwing the final game of the season, against Detroit, on Oct. 1. He said yesterday that when he heard that likely would be the final game played by Detroit's Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell as teammates, he decided he would take the start. "It's a game that will be special and it is going to be remembered," said Mussina, who pitched the night Ripken played in consecutive game No. 2,131. Tigers manager Sparky Anderson has said he will play Whitaker and Trammell as a pair only twice more, and if he sticks to that, the game Oct. 1 will be the 1,918th they play together, a record. . . . Ripken had his picture taken with 73-year-old Stanley Tyrkus, who, on Sept. 18, 1934, had his picture taken with Lou Gehrig.