Rain stops too soon to help hurting O's Short-handed bullpen again turns to Shepherd


BOSTON -- A hard, steady rain drenched Fenway Park about an hour before last night's game, and you wouldn't have blamed Orioles manager Davey Johnson if he was secretly rooting for a washout.

With Brady Anderson joining a growing injury list, the Orioles were especially short-handed last night.

Second baseman Roberto Alomar was out of the starting lineup for the sixth straight game, and Johnson said he doesn't expect Alomar to start at all this weekend, because of the sprained ring finger on his left hand. Arthur Rhodes probably won't be ready to pitch again until the Cleveland series at the earliest, leaving the Orioles, already without right-hander Roger McDowell, short-handed in the bullpen.

The Orioles were so strapped for bullpen help Thursday that Johnson used his bullpen in an unusual manner, leaning heavily on closer Randy Myers. All year, Johnson has refrained from pitching Myers more than an inning in a save situation, almost always bringing him in to start the ninth.

But Myers entered Thursday's game with one out in the eighth, the first time he has done that this season. "I'm kind of having to stretch [the relievers]," Johnson said.

Last night he stretched recent call-up Keith Shepherd, who after working two-thirds of an inning Thursday, pitched four innings to finish up for Scott Erickson, throwing 78 pitches.

Going into last night, Johnson had one healthy, fully rested reliever -- Jesse Orosco. Shepherd and Myers pitched Thursday, Rhodes is unavailable, Alan Mills pitched a season-high 2 2/3 innings Wednesday and Kent Mercker started Wednesday.

In addition, Johnson wanted to give B. J. Surhoff a night off. However, when Anderson was dropped from the starting lineup, Surhoff was inserted.

Rochester updates

The Orioles promoted Calvin Maduro from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Rochester and Maduro pitched eight strong innings in a 2-0 loss, allowing one walk and five hits and striking out nine.

But Maduro was sent down to make room for Rick Krivda, who started against Richmond last night, allowing 10 hits, two walks and five runs in six innings, striking out four.

Jeffrey Hammonds, meanwhile, had pushed his average to .250 for Rochester before going 0-for-3 last night. Hammonds has nine hits in his last 14 at-bats.

Trade chatter

First, general manager Pat Gillick talked to assistant GM Kevin Malone, and then they huddled with Johnson, hustling off together to meet behind closed doors. The trading deadline is 11 days away and the Orioles are weighing their options.

They were expected to renew talks with San Diego yesterday about a possible trade involving Bobby Bonilla. The Orioles may want a couple of pitchers from the Padres' group of young arms that includes Tim Worrell, Bryce Florie, Doug Bochtler and Scott Sanders, all right-handers, and San Diego may want to expand the deal to include Hammonds.

Johnson says he doesn't like hearing about the talks until they get very serious. "Don't tell me what I might get for Christmas," Johnson said. "I'm a bird-in-the-hand man."

Cleveland may be close to unloading Eddie Murray, and the Orioles are the only team to have shown any interest in him. Murray has been relegated to a bench role, and the Indians have three players coming off the disabled list in the next week -- Greg Swindell on Sunday, Julio Franco on Monday and Dennis Martinez on Thursday.

Around the horn

Mike Mussina may ask for permission to leave the Orioles and return to his hometown of Montoursville, Pa., if there is a memorial service in honor of the 21 Montoursville residents killed on TWA Flight 800 Wednesday evening. Mussina, who coaches basketball at the high school there and knew some of those who died, pitches against the Red Sox tomorrow. . . . Boston shortstop John Valentin left Thursday's game because of a sore elbow and was out of the lineup last night. Former Orioles third baseman Jeff Manto started in his place at shortstop. . . . Jeff Huson's error Thursday broke a string of 103 straight games without one at second base. . . . Cal Ripken was lifted in the seventh inning, the seventh time he has left a game early this season, one fewer than last year. . . . The Orioles have agreed to terms with fourth-round pick Mark Seaver, a pitcher from Wake Forest. The signing of Seaver will mean the Orioles have only one unsigned player among their draft selections in the first 10 rounds -- Ed Schoening, a high school pitcher from Columbus, Ga. . . . Myers carries a mini-scoreboard on which he has listed all the losses for the wild-card contenders, including the Orioles.

Pub Date: 7/20/96

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