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Ripken twirls with the best His dancing defense helps bail out Erickson

Cal Ripken, who said his arm wasn't as strong as usual this season, made a few more terrific plays yesterday, but said he hasn't really had to test his arm yet in the postseason.

Ripken said he used an accelerated program to strengthen his arm last winter, similar to a program he used in the shortened 1995 spring training, and his arm hasn't really felt right this year because of it.

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Yesterday he made two plays where he ranged to his left and twirled around before firing in time to retire runners at first. The second time he turned the trick was to end the sixth inning, when starter Scott Erickson was struggling and the Orioles needed an out to get their relievers warmed up.

Ripken said while he felt good making those plays, they really didn't test his arm.

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"When I'm going deep in the hole and have to come up throwing, that's the throw where you're really testing your arm," he said. "But I have been able to snap it off lately and get my release off pretty quick."

Catcher Mark Parent was certainly impressed.

"He really helped Scottie," Parent said. "I'll tell you what, Cal made two tremendous plays. For Cal to spin like that and throw a strike to first base, I mean, I'm hustling up the first base line because I'm thinking, 'No way can he throw a strike to first base.'

"And he does it twice. It's phenomenal. He's tremendous."

Hargrove blasts Stearns

Cleveland Indians manager Mike Hargrove responded to remarks made by Orioles first base coach John Stearns about a play made by Indians right fielder Manny Ramirez on Tuesday.

Stearns said after Game 1 that he did not think Ramirez knew Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles was tagging up at third base when Ramirez caught Roberto Alomar's shallow fly ball to right field in the sixth inning of a tie game, but did not throw home.

"I think John Stearns would do well probably to pay attention to his own club," Hargrove told ESPN before yesterday's game. "Unless he's on our payroll, he really doesn't know what's going on with our club and clubhouse. To sit there and come out publicly and make a statement like he made to the paper, is totally irresponsible.

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"We're upset by it, you bet. To sit there and think a professional player doesn't know there's a man on third base, that is inconceivable in my mind. I think John would do well to pay attention to his own club."

Stearns declined to comment on Hargrove's remarks.

Sliding second thoughts

Although the play ended up having no bearing on the outcome, Ripken said in hindsight he wishes he would have slid differently when he was thrown out at home plate in the fifth inning.

"If I'd have slid into the back side of the plate, I might have been safe," Ripken said.

Surhoff hobbled

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Starting left fielder B. J. Surhoff left in the eighth inning with a nagging knee injury, but said he should be fine for tomorrow's game in Cleveland.

Surhoff left the game after reaching on an error and was walking with a slight limp when he left the field. Manager Davey Johnson set a postseason record by using three pinch runners in the eighth inning yesterday, including Pete Incaviglia, who replaced Surhoff at second base.

Incaviglia, a husky 6-foot-1, 230-pounder, is not known for his speed. "I don't think I'd ever done that before," Incaviglia said. "I was getting ready to hit. Instead he told me to run out there to second base."

Scoop Murray, reporter

Eddie Murray's locker is next to that of Surhoff, who was inundated with reporters asking about the play in the eighth where Surhoff ran up the first base line and, according to the Indians, interfered with Sandy Alomar's inaccurate throw to first, which allowed the winning run to score.

Murray asked a reporter what question was annoying Surhoff, then ducked his head in the maze of notebooks and asked it himself, getting everyone to laugh.

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Mills should be ready

Pitching coach Pat Dobson said injured reliever Alan Mills should be ready to pitch tomorrow in Game 3.

Mills, one of the Orioles' key late-inning relievers before getting hurt, has been hampered by a strained groin muscle for the last 10 days. But Mills said his groin is improving.

"Millsy should be ready for Friday," Dobson said. "With the off day [today] and not having to use him in the first two games, he should be a lot better by Friday. We think he'll be fine."

A postseason power

Brady Anderson joined mixed company by homering yesterday, giving him home runs in his first two career playoff games.

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Ken Griffey and Marquis Grissom both accomplished the feat last year. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan did it in 1972 and former Oriole "Disco" Dan Ford did it in 1979.

No luck for Seitzer

Seitzer has had bad luck with hitting Orioles pitchers in this series.

Seitzer, one of the Indians best hitters, rocketed a ball off of Wells' left ankle Tuesday, forcing Wells from the game. But the ball caromed right over to Rafael Palmeiro at first base, who picked it up for an easy out.

Yesterday Seitzer nearly took Erickson's glove off with a third-inning blast, but the ball went right to Alomar, who started an easy double play.

Impressive kids

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Free agents Travis Lee and Matt White both completed their visits with the Orioles yesterday after spending all of Tuesday in Baltimore.

The players became free agents when the teams that drafted them in June failed to tender them a contract within 15 days after the draft. It's very unlikely White will sign with the team, but Lee could be a possibility.

Lee ate dinner with Orioles general manager Pat Gillick Tuesday night and hit in the batting cage for Johnson yesterday. Lee is a first baseman and was the second overall pick in the draft.

Matt Slater, the Orioles scouting administrator, spent the last two days with Lee and said he expects the player to decide where he wants to play shortly.

Lee also visited with California, Philadelphia, San Diego and the New York Yankees, but is returning home and had no immediate plans to meet with any other teams. Johnson said he was impressed by what he saw of Lee and White. "I've been around a couple of highly touted young players [Lee and White]," Johnson said. "I'd like to see them sign with the Orioles."

Wells should be ready

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Dobson said Game 1 starter David Wells also should be ready for his next start. Wells has been bothered by a stiff neck and a sore ankle from a shot off it by Kevin Seitzer.

Wells left the game after being hit in the ankle, but was walking without a pronounced limp yesterday.

Help from the coach

Dobson said he called about half of the pitches in the Orioles' Game 1 victory. Orioles batting coach Rick Down is likely to be a candidate for the Philadelphia Phillies managing vacancy.

Pub Date: 10/03/96


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