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Anderson gets leg up on playing Johnson's decoy says he'll be ready for All-Star start

DETROIT — DETROIT -- Center fielder Brady Anderson sat out a second consecutive game yesterday because of a sore left calf, but he remains insistent that the injury will not prevent him from starting tomorrow's All-Star Game.

"It's gotten better since [Saturday]," Anderson said. "It still hurts to walk, but it's improving."

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Anderson appeared briefly as a pinch hitter during yesterday's 14-9 loss to the Detroit Tigers. However, his role was only as a decoy. Tigers manager Buddy Bell countered with left-hander Mike Myers. Davey Johnson immediately replaced Anderson with Pete Incaviglia, who grounded out to end the eighth inning.

Anderson, who declined yesterday's start when approached by Johnson, then attended Cal Ripken's local book-signing before traveling with the third baseman to Cleveland.

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Anderson actually stood on deck Saturday night when the Orioles made the final out of a 6-5 loss. Asked about how he could have run, Anderson said, "I guess Davey put me in to jog."

This year's first three months contrast starkly to last year, when Anderson slugged 30 homers before the All-Star break en route to a monster 50-homer season. Kept out of six games by rib and leg injuries, Anderson has hit seven home runs in 313 at-bats. (Anderson had 307 at-bats before last year's All-Star break.) He has 41 RBIs compared with 62 at the same time last season.

Although Johnson believes the early-season injuries have limited Anderson's power, he insists that Anderson remains a dangerous presence.

"His on-base percentage is up. He's doing things you expect from a leadoff guy," said the manager.

With 94 hits -- 27 for extra bases -- Anderson retains an outside chance of achieving 200 hits and is on pace for 24 stolen bases. "Two hundred hits is a nice goal," he said. "We'll work on that one."

Berroa keeps on hacking

Regarding his newest pupil, hitting coach Rick Down is adopting a patient approach toward designated hitter Geronimo Berroa, who hit his first Orioles homer in yesterday's fifth inning.

Although Berroa may have 10 strikeouts in nine games with his new team, he also is a dangerous presence on a team that needed one before his June 27 acquisition. However, yesterday marked the first time he has batted in the bottom half of the order as Johnson dropped him to No. 6 behind B. J. Surhoff. Berroa reached base three times and scored twice, including his 17th homer of the season that pulled the Orioles to within 8-6.

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Berroa is known as a mistake hitter whose exaggerated open stance makes him vulnerable to pitches down and away. After an initial period of overly aggressive at-bats, Berroa has settled down. He has accepted six walks in 41 plate appearances with the Orioles while hitting .162 (6-for-37). According to Down, Berroa could either harness his aggressiveness to prevent himself from falling behind in counts, or retain the same approach in the hope of putting the ball in play early.

"Every hitter has weaknesses. Everybody makes outs," Down said. "If you make him so aware of his weaknesses, you take away from his strengths."

Down has discussed approach and technique with Berroa. While the first impression might be to see Berroa's unique stance as conceding the outer half of the plate, Down sees otherwise.

"[Roberto] Clemente did it much the same way and he had success. While Berroa's foot might be going that way, his upper body is still aligned properly. He has enough coverage to generate power to all fields."

Falling into early trap

With one out in the first inning, Detroit's Bobby Higginson sent a liner into center field that Jeffrey Hammonds appeared to catch as he slid across the grass, but umpire Tim Welke ruled it a trap. A seemingly harmless single turned into two quick runs when the next batter, Travis Fryman, homered on a full count. The Tigers added three more runs before Scott Erickson retired the No. 9 hitter, Orlando Miller, on a liner to Hammonds.

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Hammonds jumped up after the call was made on Higginson's ball. He trotted toward the infield before throwing to second, then veered toward Welke, waving his arms as he argued.

"I caught it. It turned around the whole game," Hammonds said.

Webster: Hot bat, sore back

A hot June for Lenny Webster has given way to a scorching July.

Webster, the Orioles' regular catcher since Chris Hoiles went on the disabled list June 18, singled twice and raised his average this month to .400 (8-for-20). He batted .300 (15-for-50) in June after hitting .186 in May and .083 in April.

"It's just a matter of getting opportunities and being relaxed at the plate," he said. "I'm feeling pretty confident up there and I'm just trying to hit the ball hard every at-bat. So far, that's basically what's been happening, and I've been getting a few hits here and there."

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Webster, who has been bothered by a sore Achilles' tendon, was removed after the sixth inning to rest a slight strain in his lower back.

"I think Davey was pretty leery about that," he said. "It's something that's been going on for about 10 days now and I've been battling through it. He asked me today if I could play, and whenever Scotty's [Scott Erickson's] pitching, I'm going to catch, unless I'm really hurting. I could have caught the whole day, but I think Davey knew I was hurting a little bit and he just wanted to get me out of there."

Bats of stone

With the Orioles already pinned against the ropes, Bell brought in reliever Roberto Duran to begin the seventh inning.

The beating continued.

Just called up from Double-A Jacksonville, Duran struck out Rafael Palmeiro, got Ripken on a shot back to the mound and retired Surhoff on a long fly to left.

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Duran was 2-2 at Jacksonville with a 2.21 ERA and nine saves. He struck out 67 in 40 2/3 innings.

Around the horn

Ripken's double in the third inning was the 506th of his career, tying him with Babe Ruth for 30th on baseball's all-time list. Ripken had been tied with Tony Perez. He also played in his 2,466th game, tying him with Dave Parker for 44th all-time and leaving him three shy of Rod Carew and Vada Pinson. After batting .206 (22-for-107) in June, Palmeiro has hit safely in six of the first seven July games. Tony Tarasco has homered in back-to-back games. Detroit catcher Brian Johnson's fourth-inning homer was his first since April 7 against Minnesota. Jeff Reboulet's homer in the ninth was his first since April 15. Brian Hunter extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games with an infield single in the fourth. Hunter's stolen base in the fifth inning was the Tigers' 25th in the past 12 games, and their AL-leading 99th. The last time they led the league was 1934. The Tigers' bullpen hadn't allowed a run in 14 2/3 innings before Palmeiro homered off Willie Blair in the fifth. Before yesterday, Detroit outfielder Melvin Nieves had struck out 100 times, the most in the majors. He walked twice and singled off Erickson, then singled off Alan Mills in the seventh.

Pub Date: 7/07/97


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