Alomar and Mussina snare Gold Gloves honors Alexander is dropped, Tarasco added to roster as insurance for Surhoff

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NEW YORK -- Starter Mike Mussina and second baseman Roberto Alomar won Gold Gloves yesterday, honoring their fielding superiority.

It is Alomar's sixth straight Gold Glove, and first with the Orioles. Alomar has won Gold Gloves every year he's been in the American League, including his five seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Mussina had never won the award before. He is the first Orioles pitcher to win the award since Jim Palmer won his fourth in 1979.

Mussina wasn't aware he had won the award until he was told by a reporter as he was leaving Yankee Stadium yesterday. Mussina was one of a handful of Orioles who made it to the ballpark before the postponement.

"Wow, that's great," said Mussina, who declined to elaborate.

Alomar is the first Orioles position player to win the award since shortstop Cal Ripken won consecutive Gold Gloves in 1991 and 1992.

Golden past, too

Led by Brooks Robinson with 16, the Orioles have won 52 Gold Gloves in their history, the second-highest total of any major-league team. The St. Louis Cardinals have 57 1/2 .

Gold and silver, too

Alomar was selected for another honor yesterday: He was given a Silver Slugger award. The awards, instituted in 1980, are chosen by managers and coaches and are based solely on offensive performance. He batted .328 with 94 RBIs during the regular season.

Tarasco added to roster

The Orioles dropped infielder Manny Alexander from their postseason roster yesterday and added outfielder Tony Tarasco.

Alexander was a spare part this season, starting at shortstop for one week and spending the rest of the year on the bench. Alexander appeared in three Division Series games as a pinch runner, scoring two runs.

Tarasco will fill a similar role with the Orioles in the ALCS. He has good speed and hits better than Alexander. With left fielder B. J. Surhoff's status a question due to a sore right knee and left hamstring, Tarasco provides insurance in the outfield.

Coppinger to get start

Rookie Rocky Coppinger thought he'd be lucky to pitch out of the bullpen in the ALCS, but now he's preparing for his first postseason start.

Coppinger will start Game 4 on Saturday in Baltimore on a whopping 16 days' rest and is eagerly awaiting his chance.

"When the season started and I was in Triple-A, I never thought I'd be here in the big leagues," Coppinger, 22, said. "But here I am now, stuck in the American League Championship Series. It's a dream, but it's also a job."

Coppinger, who was bumped back from starts a few times in August and September to rest his sore forearm, said his arm now feels much better.

"My last two starts of the season were my best by far," said Coppinger, who allowed just two earned runs in 15 1/3 innings. "So, I'm coming into this throwing the ball good. I don't know what this layoff is going to do, since I haven't thrown in like 10, 15 days. I think confidence-wise I'm coming into this on a high, I guess."

Welcome, Robbie

The New York media were ready for Alomar.

The front page of yesterday's New York Post printed a picture of Alomar bordered in black, screaming the headline, "N.Y.'s Most Wanted!"

A local radio station passed a jar among fans lined up to buy tickets at Yankee Stadium, urging them to spit in the container. The plan was to present it to Alomar.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani suggested that Alomar get the silent treatment.

"Make it clear you don't acknowledge the fact that he's in the game," Giuliani said. "The fans in Cleveland [during the Division Series] turned their backs on him. They did the appropriate thing."

Actually, Cleveland fans also vigorously booed Alomar for having spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck on Sept. 27.

Rain delights Surhoff

As a rule, Surhoff said he hates rainouts, but yesterday was an exception. Nursing his two injuries, Surhoff said getting an extra day off should help. Manager Davey Johnson said Surhoff had a 50/50 shot at being in yesterday's lineup because of the ailing knee and hamstring.

"Another day of rest can't hurt," Surhoff said. "I didn't do anything [Monday] other than hit. I won't really know how it is until I get out there, but even then you don't really know, because the adrenalin can help so much, too. It depends on how convincing I can be with Davey."

Mills says he's ready

Reliever Alan Mills said he is definitely available to pitch today.

Mills has pitched to only one batter since aggravating his sore groin muscle Sept. 23 against Milwaukee. Pitching coach Pat Dobson said Mills is cleared to pitch.

Erickson keeps cool

Scott Erickson, today's starter, said the key to his big-game success is not letting pressure mount.

Erickson has an 8-1 combined record in September the last two years and was solid for 6 2/3 innings against the Indians in the Division Series.

"It's not really something I think a lot about," Erickson said. "I look forward to pitching in big games. Pressure is what you make of it. It's what you put on yourself. As long as you're confident and relaxed, nobody can put pressure on you."

AL Gold Gloves

Pos. Player

1B J. T. Snow, California

2B Roberto Alomar, Orioles

SS Omar Vizquel, Cleveland

3B Robin Ventura, Chicago

OF Ken Griffey, Seattle

OF Kenny Lofton, Cleveland

OF Jay Buhner, Seattle

C Ivan Rodriguez, Texas

' P Mike Mussina, Orioles

Silver Sluggers

American League

Pos. Player

1B Mark McGwire, Oakland

2B Roberto Alomar, Orioles

SS Alex Rodriguez, Seattle

3B Jim Thome, Cleveland

OF Ken Griffey, Seattle

OF Albert Belle, Cleveland

OF Juan Gonzalez, Texas

C Ivan Rodriguez, Texas

DH Paul Molitor, Minnesota

National League

Pos. Player

1B Andres Galarraga, Col.

2B Eric Young, Colorado

SS Barry Larkin, Cincinnati

3B Ken Caminiti, San Diego

OF Ellis Burks, Colorado

OF Barry Bonds, S.F.

OF Gary Sheffield, Florida

C Mike Piazza, Los Angeles

& P Tom Glavine, Atlanta

Pub Date: 10/09/96

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