BOSTON -- Second baseman Roberto Alomar plans to contribute his salary from this season's five-game suspension to charity. Alomar confirmed his intention before yesterday's game against the Boston Red Sox, but was irritated that his intentions leaked out before they had been finalized. "Put it this way: I don't want to say anything until everything is right."
Hoping to minimize attention directed at him and umpire John Hirschbeck during the two-game series against the Chicago White Sox beginning tomorrow, Alomar has sidestepped questions related to the spitting incident last Sept. 27 that brought him the five-game suspension. Alomar also is sensitive to criticism for being paid by the team during his suspension, which the umpires believed was too light.
The pro-rated share of his salary would come to about $130,000. Alomar said he has not decided how the donation will be distributed.
"I'm going to do it," Alomar said. "I don't want to say a lot. I'm definitely going to do something after I get all the information."
Alomar and the Orioles already have each donated $50,000 to the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University. One of Hirschbeck's sons died in 1993 of adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), a neurological illness, and had been treated at the institute.
Orosco sits and waits
The past two years Jesse Orosco would beg for a night off. This season he can't find an opportunity.
Orosco enjoyed his familiar vantage point for yesterday's blowout win over the Red Sox. While Armando Benitez and Terry Mathews warmed, Orosco again waited for the late-inning left-handed chance that never came. So far this season he has made three appearances and faced a total of five hitters. He last appeared April 9 in Kansas City, walking Tom Goodwin.
"It's one of those things. Sure, I'd like to be in there more, but the situation hasn't arisen," he said. "We've got starting pitchers who are going well and we've got a deep bullpen. It'll happen."
Still, this is a unique stretch for the spot left-hander. Orosco has worked 131 games the last two seasons.
"You get your throwing in and be patient," said Orosco, who led the American League with 65 appearances in 1995 then came back for 66 more in 1996. "If we're not out there, it means the starters are doing a great job."
Orosco has the most defined role of any pitcher on the staff. His job description is to face left-handed batters in the late innings, usually in a tie game or protecting a lead. With last year's bullpen decimated by injury, Orosco often found himself in disadvantageous matchups. This year, with manager Davey Johnson being able to call upon a full complement of right-handed relievers, Orosco must wait.
His time almost came yesterday as he warmed before the ninth inning. However, the call never came.
Orosco is viewed by his fellow relievers as the pen's elder statesman. Along with bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, he makes a significant contribution helping his cohorts remain ready despite uncooperative weather and infrequent game situations. Until yesterday, Mathews and Benitez hadn't appeared since April 11. The two handcuffed the Red Sox on two hits over 3 1/3 scoreless innings as the bullpen ran its streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 13 1/3.
Bordick gets in the swing
April has been a cruel month for Mike Bordick.
Asked to replace Cal Ripken at shortstop, he has performed capably in the field but remains in an offensive funk that eased only slightly yesterday with two hits that lifted his average to .160, only two points shy of his season high.
In the past week, Bordick has been robbed on strong plays by outfielders and become a prop for an infielder's highlight reel. White Sox shortstop Ozzie Guillen stoked his frustration on Thursday when he ranged far to his right and threw across his body from short left field to nip Bordick by a half-step. Bordick's seventh-inning single yesterday broke an 0-for-14 skid. He began the season 0-for-13 and hasn't seen the high side of .200 since.
"You want him to relax. He'll work it out," Johnson said of the lifetime .258 hitter. "You talk to him and try to do whatever you can to help. He's hit into some tough luck. But you don't stop talking to a guy when he's going bad. You don't treat him like he's carrying the plague."
Around the horn
The Orioles' 11-3 start matches last year's opening 14 games and is one game shy of the franchise's best start in 1966. A win today would match that season's best-ever 15-game start. Jimmy Key shut down Red Sox center fielder Shane Mack, a longtime nemesis. Mack, who carried a .474 (9-for-19) career average against Key into the game, went 1-for-3 and flied out with the bases loaded in the second inning. Johnson used his second pinch hitter of the season. Jeff Reboulet appeared in the ninth inning for Alomar. The Orioles have committed only one error in their last seven games. The infield is errorless since April 9.
Pub Date: 4/21/97