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Returning Johnson agrees with changes in Down-pat lineup Hurting Davis, Alomar get a day off from their 'creative' interim manager


NEW YORK -- Manager Davey Johnson returned from Florida in time for yesterday's game, but had little input in hitting coach Rick Down's remade lineup card, which did not include slumping Eric Davis as designated hitter and Roberto Alomar at second base.

Down instead started Jeff Reboulet at second base against New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, presented Chris Hoiles his third start at first base and allowed Rafael Palmeiro "a half-day off" by inserting him as DH.

"The manager's being creative today," Palmeiro cracked upon spying the lineup.

Johnson surprised coaches and players with his morning arrival. He caught an early-morning flight in Orlando that landed at LaGuardia Airport at 10: 20 a.m. Because of light holiday traffic, he was in uniform shortly after 11 a.m.

Johnson had little to say about the family matter that required his presence for the two previous days. "All I'm going to say is that a member of my family was ill and I had to be there," he said.

By the time he arrived, Down had already made out the lineup card. Davis was in Down's original lineup, but was scratched after complaining of persistent stomach pain. Davis plans to undergo further testing when the club returns from its seven-game road trip Friday.

Typically the No. 3 hitter, Davis has endured a series of injuries that have contributed to a 3-for-36 slide that has pulled his average from .395 to .302 since May 7. Davis is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. As a designated hitter, he is hitting .116 (5-for-43, one RBI) compared with .395 (34-for-86, 20 RBIs) as a right fielder. Davis has been confined to DH duties since straining his right hamstring May 7 against Anaheim. He has yet to homer on the road.

Alomar continues to be hampered by a tender left ankle. Among his restrictions is an inability to hit while shifting weight to his left foot. He is hitting .204 with two RBIs and no extra-base hits as a right-handed batter.

Jon Miller appears

Former Orioles broadcaster Jon Miller made an appearance at Yankee Stadium and declared his new gig with the San Francisco Giants a success.

"It's been great. I've been able to get back to Baltimore. [Last night was] the fifth time since the season started. When school gets out June 6, the family comes out to San Francisco for the summer. That's been good," Miller said.

Miller has exchanged one division leader for another, which hasn't hurt his break-in with the Giants. Breaking old habits has been more of a challenge.

"They've treated me real well, and the team's done real well. I only called them the Orioles twice the first exhibition game. It's the only time I screwed up like that," Miller said. "It's funny. They look exactly like the Orioles -- black shirts, black-and-orange piping. Damon Berryhill came up, and he's wearing No. 8. I was like, 'Wow, that looks bizarre. Who is that?' "

Miller will return to Camden Yards on Friday night for the first time since his departure last winter. He will be part of the ESPN broadcast team for Sunday night's game against Cleveland.

Bordick, Johnson tossed

With his team cruising toward an emotional, 8-6 win, Johnson drew his first ejection of the season in defense of shortstop Mike Bordick.

Bordick became angered by umpire Drew Coble's strike call against him on a 3-1 count with one out in the eighth inning. He turned to argue the call when Johnson joined in from the bench. Coble repeatedly waved his finger at Bordick, who persisted. Finally, Coble ejected Bordick for the first time in his eight-year major-league career.

Johnson immediately burst from the dugout to confront Coble. He, too, was soon gone.

"I didn't think Bordick said anything, and I was upset because he was my shortstop and it's a close ballgame," Johnson said. "I just went crazy. Drew's a heck of an umpire, and I have a lot of respect for him. I thank him. I did need to go. It helped me."

Johnson on Johnson

Davey Johnson seemed to confirm pitching coach Ray Miller's suggestion from the day before that Mike Johnson be given a third start, Friday against the Cleveland Indians. Johnson did not see his rookie pitcher's three-inning outing Sunday, but said the 21-year-old deserves an opportunity with regular rest.

"It would be difficult for anybody to sit around for 10 or 12 days, then face the Cleveland Indians. I wouldn't wish that on anybody," said Johnson. "If you're working regular and you've got all your weapons, that's one thing. But to be judgmental after putting a guy in there who hadn't pitched in 10 days, that'd be tough."

Mike Johnson made his first start since May 14 on Sunday, but exhibited poor control. An official determination will likely be made today. Shawn Boskie, who pitched a scoreless sixth inning yesterday, would be the alternative.

Around the horn

Right fielder Jeffrey Hammonds' team-high five-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-2 day that included two walks. The Orioles worked their second double steal this year when Cal Ripken and Palmeiro advanced on Hoiles' strikeout in the fourth inning. The pair entered the game with a combined two stolen bases -- both by Palmeiro. Ripken went 1-for-4 with an infield single. He has managed two balls out of the infield in his last 18 at-bats. The Orioles bumped their record against the Yankees this decade to 36-53.

Yesterday continued a trend of more meaningful work for Jesse Orosco. By working a scoreless seventh inning, he has pitched at least a full inning in seven of his past 10 outings. He worked an inning in only two of his first seven appearances. Johnson couldn't resist a dig at the schedule-maker and the Yankees. Referring to the interleague schedule that has produced a raft of two-game series, Johnson noted the Yankees having significantly fewer two-game series than the Orioles. "I don't know who the Yankees know, but they must be tied into the computer system in New York where they make the schedule. It's just real tough." Sore-legged outfielder Jerome Walton returned to Birmingham, Ala., yesterday for further consultation with Dr. James Andrews and Dr. William Clancy. Surgery will be discussed.

Hits and misses

On the field: The Orioles' eight runs continued their recent offensive awakening. In their last three games, they've scored 22 runs and mashed 35 hits. Brady Anderson has six RBIs and three extra-base hits in the last two games.

In the dugout: Manager Davey Johnson returned to the team in time to be ejected in the eighth inning along with shortstop Mike Bordick. The ejection was the first of Bordick's career and the first of the year for Johnson. The incident mushroomed after plate umpire Drew Coble called a strike on a 3-1 count. Bordick, who had taken several steps toward first, argued briefly before Johnson became involved from the dugout. After Bordick was thumbed, Johnson ran onto the field for a double shot.

In the clubhouse: "They still have a hell of a team. They lost a few guys. They picked up a few guys. But they're still going to be coming after us in September. You can't get away from that." -- Reliever Jesse Orosco, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

Pub Date: 5/27/97

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