Mike Devereaux's trip to the bulletin board outside manager Davey Johnson's office often ends in disappointment.
Devereaux checks the lineup card posted there before every game, hoping to find his name next to "lf" -- left field. Devereaux found his name there Aug. 27, but not again until the last day of the season in a meaningless game.
Last night, his routine was interrupted. Johnson told Devereaux he would be in left field for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, enabling B. J. Surhoff to rest his sore right knee and left hamstring.
But one strikeout into his comeback tour, Devereaux was back on the bench. Surhoff pinch hit for Devereaux in the fourth inning, delivering a single with runners on first and third to drive in the Orioles' third run.
Johnson also made a switch at designated hitter, inserting Pete Incaviglia for regular starter Eddie Murray.
Incaviglia batted twice, and also drove in a run with a single in the fourth inning, before Murray pinch hit for him in the sixth inning.
Johnson made the switches with New York Yankees right-hander David Weathers on the mound, precisely one of the reasons he preferred having switch-hitting Murray and left-handed Surhoff on the bench to start the game.
Off-speed pitchers such as Kenny Rogers, the Yankees' starter last night, give Murray trouble, and Johnson said he wanted to get more at-bats for Incaviglia.
The altered lineup left the Orioles with a future Hall of Famer with over 500 career homers and a 20-homer hitter on the bench.
"I don't want to push [Surhoff] too much with a day game [today], but I know he'd like to be out there," Johnson said. "Eddie -- I hate to take him out of the lineup, but I also like the luxury of having two good left-handed bats on the bench that I could plug in. We've had problems against left handers all year."
Devereaux has just one hit in 14 at-bats since Aug. 24, including last night's strikeout, and spent yesterday afternoon taking early batting practice in the indoor cage to get ready to play.
"It was frustrating not to play for so long," Devereaux said. "It's something I'd never done before. It was tough not playing for a month and a half. I was excited to see my name in the lineup. I looked at the lineup every day, not expecting to see my name in it."
Devereaux, who hit .229 with eight homers this year playing sporadically, was a playoff hero for the World Series-champion Atlanta Braves last year. Devereaux hardly played for the Braves down the stretch, but was MVP of the NLCS, hitting .308 with a home run and five RBIs.
Johnson said that he was hoping Devereaux could duplicate DTC some of his postseason success this year and that the lineup switches also were based on past performance.
Besides having to ice his knee between innings, Surhoff is a .182 hitter lifetime against Rogers. Devereaux was .351 (13-for-37) lifetime against Rogers entering play last night with two doubles, a home run and two RBIs.
However, Surhoff, who has three postseason homers, said he was well enough to play last night.
"I'm fine," Surhoff said before the game. "You'll have to ask the manager why I'm not playing."
Pub Date: 10/13/96