Hit by backswing, Hoiles exits early with cut on head No stitches are required; coach says catcher 'OK'

THE BALTIMORE SUN

SEATTLE -- Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles had to leave the game in the sixth inning last night after being hit on the side of the head by Joey Cora's bat as the Mariners' second baseman completed his swing.

Hoiles lay on the ground for several minutes while trainer Richie Bancells attended to him. Hoiles walked off the field, his arms draped over the shoulders of Bancells and first base coach John Stearns, and was replaced by Lenny Webster. Bancells held a towel to Hoiles' head.

After the inning ended, infielder Jeff Reboulet stepped out of the dugout and gave a thumbs-up sign to Hoiles' wife, Dana.

Hoiles, who already has played with a variety of injuries this season, including a partially torn knee ligament and strained Achilles' tendon, had homered off reliever Mike Timlin in the top of the inning.

Hoiles' cut did not require stitches but the catcher was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays. "He's OK," bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks said.

Hoiles probably would have had two days off anyway. With Scott Erickson pitching today, Webster was scheduled to start and the teams are off tomorrow.

Webster has been nursing a sore right elbow, but said before last night's game he was ready.

"I can play. I can play now," Webster said a bit testily when approached before the game.

Webster is unaffected at the plate by the condition but it has prevented him from getting full extension when throwing. He failed to catch Erickson on Saturday for the first time this season.

Myers or Benitez?

In back-to-back victories here in May, Orioles manager Davey Johnson pulled struggling closer Randy Myers in the ninth inning with right-handed hitting Edgar Martinez due up, choosing a matchup with Armando Benitez. Both times, Benitez got the last out and the save.

Would Johnson make a similar move in this series, especially with Benitez not allowing a run to Seattle in five regular-season innings, and Myers giving up five (three earned) along with 11 hits in 6 1/3 ?

Don't count on it.

"Randy's a lot different pitcher now," Johnson said. "He's using both sides of the plate. He's learned that a lot of American League hitters like the ball away from them and now he's coming in on them. That's one of the reasons he's saved 45 out of 46."

Tarasco, Krivda take seat

There were no surprises on Johnson's postseason roster. To reach the 25-man limit, the Orioles placed right-hander Shawn Boskie, left-hander Rick Krivda and outfielder Tony Tarasco on the inactive list.

Boskie had a bone chip removed from his right elbow on Friday in Los Angeles and wouldn't be able to pitch the rest of the season if the Orioles advanced to the ALCS. Johnson's decision to carry 10 pitchers into the Division Series eliminated Krivda. Tarasco had three hits in his final 37 at-bats, dating to July 20, and became expendable with Seattle starting three left-handers in the Division Series.

Davis eyes chemo change

Outfielder Eric Davis is trying to reschedule tomorrow's chemotherapy treatment for in the morning, which has been his usual time until this week, rather than late in the afternoon in hopes of reducing the fatigue he'll carry into Saturday's Game 3 at Camden Yards.

"The office where I normally go to get it is booked," he said. "The plan right now is having it moved back to Johns Hopkins. Hopefully, if we do it that way, I'll be able to get my treatment at the normal time."

Though Davis has played twice this year the day after a treatment, he has never done so after a long flight home, and having the chemotherapy administered later could leave him even more tired.

"It might take me a little longer to recover," he said.

Asked how many games he thought Davis would be able to play in this series, Davey Johnson said, "The stress of postseason play, I don't know what that's going to do to him. But I'm sure he's going to give every shot he can to play both games here. How it is when we go back home, I don't know."

Davis has nine chemotherapy treatments left, and said he wouldn't consider missing one because it conflicted with his baseball commitment.

"My rehabilitation from cancer is more important than a baseball game," he said. "I would in no way, form or fashion jeopardize my health for a baseball game."

Confidence in umps

American League president Gene Budig met before last night's game with the series' six-man umpiring crew. The meeting is usually traditional, but the conversation took on an edge due to recent comments by umpires union chief Richie Phillips that his membership would adopt a hard-line "zero tolerance" policy regarding disagreements with managers and players.

Budig downplayed any unseemly overtones because of Phillips' comments but did not deny the controversy would be addressed.

"I'm fully confident our umpires will handle the series in a professional and dignified manner. I have no reason to believe otherwise," Budig said. "I don't have any reason to anticipate a problem."

Playing politics

Two U.S. senators, Maryland's Barbara A. Mikulski and Washington's Patty Murray, have placed a friendly wager on the outcome of the Division Series. If the Orioles win, Murray will pay off with a crate of Washington state apples. If the Mariners win, Mikulski will ante up a half-dozen crab cakes from Mamie's Cafe in Hampden.

"Just like the apples," Mikulski said, "the Mariners are ripe for the picking."

Erickson knows noise

Erickson saw and heard the difference a vocal crowd can make in a domed stadium while pitching for the Minnesota Twins in 1991, the year they won the World Series by taking all four home games.

Today, while starting Game 2 for the Orioles, he'll try to silence a Kingdome crowd that almost raised the roof at times last night.

"I try to block that out most of the time," he said. "It gets loud at Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards. It does get a little louder on the road. You can usually block it out if you pitch well and get the crowd out of the game."

Blowers gets start

One of the decisions Seattle manager Lou Piniella had to make before Game 1 was choosing a third baseman to replace Russ Davis, who's out with a sprained ankle. He could have gone with Mike Blowers, a .293 hitter during the regular season, or Andy Sheets, who batted 46 points lower but is superior defensively. Sheets also hasn't played a full season in the majors.

Piniella chose Blowers, who once hit 23 homers for the Mariners, but had only five this year.

"I'm comfortable with both guys," Piniella said. "I went with Blowers basically because of his experience. Having him on the bench would have given us some sock, but hopefully we won't need it."

Playoff suggestion

Given the choice, Johnson said he would prefer to see the playoff system altered so the home-field advantage would work more in the favor of the club with the league's best record.

Rather than having to travel for the first two games before closing out the series at home, as the Orioles are doing, Johnson said a better alternative would be a 2-2-1 format, with the first two games at home, the next two on the road, and the last one at home.

"I don't think anyone would say having the first two games away is a home-field advantage," he said.

A spectator no more

The last time Seattle made the postseason, in 1995, shortstop Alex Rodriguez was more of a spectator. Now, he has an integral role in the team's World Series drive, batting fifth between Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner.

"In '95, I was like a kid going to school," he said. "I really enjoyed it and it was a great learning experience. Jumping on Ken Griffey Jr., that was probably the highlight of my career to this point. But now to be an important part of the ballclub and be in the middle jTC of things, that makes it a lot of fun."

Rodriguez batted .300 with 23 homers and 29 steals, but considered it a difficult year.

"I've gone through some physical adversity with my ribs and my ankle," he said, "but I'll take this year over last year any day."

Moyer on Juniors

Mariners left-hander Jamie Moyer enjoys the status of having played with both Griffey Jr. and Cal Ripken Jr. Asked to compare the two, Moyer answered, "They both have a lot of fun out there and, in a way, act like big kids.

"I think our Junior has a little more fun and I think that the other Junior is a little more a student of the game. That comes with being in the infield and I think it's the way he approaches the game.

"[Ripken] takes his ground balls every day and comes to the park prepared. Our Junior takes extra batting practice every day."

Around the horn

Brady Anderson, the Orioles' only left-handed-hitting starter, had two hits. Ripken went 3-for-5 to raise his lifetime Division Series average to .435 (10-for-23). Randy Johnson lost for the first time in a Division Series. He beat the New York Yankees twice in 1995. The Mariners added Rick Wilkins, who signed as a free agent in August, to the postseason roster, giving them three catchers. "If we need to pinch run, he gives us that option," Piniella said. "At the same time, it gives us an experienced left-handed batter off the bench." Seattle's Game 3 starter, Jeff Fassero, was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for September. Fassero went 3-1, including a shutout, with a 1.98 ERA. Recording star Aaliyah sang the national anthem, wearing wraparound sunglasses and a Mariners cap.

Pub Date: 10/02/97

Up next

Pitching matchups for the rest of the Orioles-Mariners series:

Game 2: Erickson (16-7, 3.69)

vs. Moyer (17-5, 3.86)

Game 3: Key (16-10, 3.43)

vs. Fassero (16-9, 3.61)

*Game 4: Mussina (15-8, 3.20)

vs. Cloude (4-2, 5.12)

*Game 5: Erickson

vs. Johnson (20-4, 2.28)

* if necessary

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