Hits and misses


On the field: Orioles manager Phil Regan was asked what he thought about rookie outfielder Mark Smith the other day, and the first thing Regan mentioned was that Smith is a much better defensive player than he thought. Smith is particularly adept on the diving catch as he charges the ball, and he had another yesterday, running toward the line and going headlong to rob Brewers second baseman Mark Loretta.

In the dugout: Catcher Chris Hoiles played yesterday, getting a rare start in a day game after a night game. The reason, Regan said, is that the Orioles have an off day today and on Thursday.

In the clubhouse: Regan on knuckleballer Steve Sparks, who held the hot-hitting Orioles to three hits and a run yesterday: "I asked Brady [Anderson] to compare him to Tim Wakefield, and he said [Sparks] throws his quite a bit harder than Wakefield, and if he gets his knuckleball in the strike zone, he's just as tough to hit as Wakefield."

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