Manager Davey Johnson said he expected Geronimo Berroa to arrive in Baltimore late last night, and the slugger could be in the lineup today against the Toronto Blue Jays, serving as the designated hitter and batting either third or fourth.
Johnson wanted to check on Berroa, who was acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics Friday for minor-league pitcher Jimmy Haynes and a player to be named, before guaranteeing his place in the lineup. Berroa had an MRI done on his right shoulder Thursday, but played that night.
Berroa has 72 hours to report to the Orioles, who are in need of an offensive jolt.
"You're coming from the West Coast; that's going to shoot a day to begin with," Johnson said. "You lose three hours, and it's a five-hour trip. And you're making the move. It's not like maybe he was going to be right over here and he could swing back home. We'll be happy to have him when we get him."
The club will make a move today to clear a spot for Berroa on the 25-man roster, either optioning rookie Dave Dellucci or Tony Tarasco or releasing DH Pete Incaviglia. Johnson said he was going to speak to general manager Pat Gillick and assistant GM Kevin Malone before today's game.
Asked how he felt about the trade, Tarasco said, "I'll let you know [today]. It's going to impact me, either positive or negative. The positive would be that I'd be staying here.
"I really don't think I'm going anywhere. If I do, it's not right because I think I belong here -- unless I'm the player to be named."
Dellucci, who joined the club June 1 from Double-A Bowie, said he hasn't considered his status.
"The best thing is not to worry about it. You just have to stay ready when something does happen and make it the best day possible," he said.
"I don't know what they're thinking, but I know they want a veteran player because this is a team that could go to the World Series."
Thrift sees Haynes in bigs
Farm director Syd Thrift said Haynes, who was 5-4 with a 3.44 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A Rochester, will surface again in the majors "very soon."
"I told him that [Friday] night," Thrift said. "He wasn't ready to pitch here. He was making very good progress this year, but he still didn't have command of pitches on a given day. One day it was his fastball, one day it was his curveball. In Triple-A ball they swing at bad balls. In the big leagues they take that pitch. But I still think he has a chance to be a very good pitcher.
"The most important thing is being in the right place at the right time. I think [Oakland] is the right place for him to be."
Haynes, 24, selected by the Orioles in the seventh round of the 1991 draft, spent parts of the past two seasons in Baltimore, going 5-7 with a 7.01 ERA.
He began last year in the rotation, lost his first three starts, was sent to the bullpen and eventually landed back in the minors.
Thrift also said that right-hander Brian Williams, who was optioned to Triple-A Rochester when Alan Mills came off the disabled list June 15, has a sore right knee that bothers him the day after he pitches. And speedy outfielder Eugene Kingsale, who has been out with a knee injury, is expected to play today for Bowie. He played the last two days in Sarasota.
As for right-hander Rocky Coppinger, on the disabled list with a sore elbow, Thrift said, "I'm guessing it will probably be another two weeks pitching there [in Sarasota], then whatever happens after that depends on how well he does."
M. Johnson gets rare call
Before replacing starter Jimmy Key last night, rookie Mike Johnson hadn't appeared in a game since pitching three innings in relief June 16 against Montreal. He had been used twice since May 31, including a June 11 start against Boston, when he allowed seven earned runs in two innings and was taken out of the rotation.
Johnson lasted 2 1/3 innings last night and gave up two runs, including the first American League homer by Carlos Garcia in the seventh inning that brought about his removal.
The Rule 5 draftee had been through this kind of inactivity before. He was used only three times during the first month of the season before making four starts. But he said the more recent idle time had been more difficult since getting that brief exposure to semi-regular work.
"It seems longer because you get used to pitching," he said before the game. "That first stretch I had, I wasn't pitching that much anyway. It's just a real long waiting game."
Around the horn
Arthur Rhodes hasn't given up a run in his last eight games, spanning 18 2/3 innings. He has struck out 26 and allowed five hits and two walks during that span. Brady Anderson was in a 2-for-20 slump before singling in the third inning. Toronto right fielder Orlando Merced left the game in the seventh inning with a sore right shoulder, suffered in the fifth inning on a diving catch to deny Lenny Webster of a hit and aggravated during his at-bat in the seventh. Fewer than 300 single tickets remain for the last four games of this homestand against the Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Pub Date: 6/29/97
Hits and misses
On the field: Rafael Palmeiro, who began the night with five hits in his last 41 at-bats, was retired on a rare 4-6-3 putout in the first inning. After Roberto Alomar singled with one out, Palmeiro grounded to Toronto second baseman Carlos Garcia, who shoveled the ball to shortstop Alex Gonzalez in an attempt to begin a double play. But Gonzalez glided across the bag before taking the throw and Alomar was called safe by umpire Ted Barrett. Gonzalez then threw to first to get Palmeiro.
In the dugout: Manager Davey Johnson's posted lineup had a few blank spaces where position numbers would go. He wanted to check the condition of Jeffrey Hammonds' left ankle, which Johnson said was slightly sprained, before deciding on a DH. Hammonds wound up filling that role, with B. J. Surhoff in left, Brady Anderson in center and Dave Dellucci making his fourth consecutive start in right.
In the clubhouse: Johnson was asked before the game if he had thought about who would go today to make room for newly acquired Geronimo Berroa on the 25-man roster. "I've thought about it. I'm not going to shed any light on it," he said.