OAKLAND, Calif. -- Armando Benitez made more amends last night. Admittedly embarrassed by the negative attention he brought to his team Tuesday night when he sparked a bench-clearing brawl by hitting New York Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez, Benitez apologized to his teammates during a brief clubhouse meeting before the game against the Oakland Athletics.
"I just want to make it right with everybody," Benitez said. "I don't want people to think of me as a bad guy."
Benitez expressed his remorse to manager Ray Miller during an emotional meeting earlier in the day.
"We're all in this together and our actions represent each other. Maybe it will make him a better pitcher," Miller said. "He didn't realize what he had done. I think it's a good learning experience."
While his club played a man short, Benitez served the third game of his eight-game suspension last night. He worked out before the game, changed into street clothes and returned to the team hotel. A suspended player may not remain in the dugout or the clubhouse during a game.
Miller admitted being disappointed by Benitez's reaction Tuesday, especially since he had publicly mentioned how much Benitez, 24, had matured in the last year.
Benitez had converted all six save opportunities before Tuesday night's meltdown. A three-run homer surrendered to Bernie Williams immediately before he hit Martinez represented his first blown save this season.
"He's someone so big and strong and imposing and he's been around a couple years, you tend to think of him as a 30-year-old veteran," Miller said. "But when you get in an emotional situation you realize he's a very young man."
Mills pondering appeal
The other Oriole suspended for participation role in Tuesday's fracas, reliever Alan Mills, says he has not yet decided whether he will appeal his two-game suspension. Mills also was fined $500 for punching Yankees designated hitter Darryl Strawberry after the fight spilled into the Orioles' dugout.
"I've got time to decide. I really don't know right now," Mills said.
Mills won't begin serving his suspension until Benitez has served his. Benitez becomes eligible Friday.
No, thank you
Newsday reports that Martinez isn't in a forgiving mood.
"When it happened, I knew it was on purpose," Martinez told the newspaper before last night's game in Boston. "You just wish you could have done more. I wish I could have went one-on-one, just myself and not my teammates. I don't want [an apology]. I won't accept it from a pitcher, and I don't care if he does or not.
The Orioles suffered another bizarre injury when catcher Chris Hoiles left in the third inning after hitting his right wrist while making a throw on base-stealer Jason McDonald. Hoiles went to a nearby hospital for X-rays.
He left the field unable to flex the wrist. The incident took place with one out in the third. McDonald broke for third and Hoiles attempted to throw behind batter A. J. Hinch. Hinch took the pitch but kept his bat shouldered. Hoiles' wrist caught the barrel on his follow-through. Hoiles immediately doubled over.
Whether or not Hoiles suffered a break, club officials moved quickly to recall catcher Charlie Greene from Triple-A Rochester, suggesting a roster move today.
Around the horn
Cal Ripken's second-inning double moved him past Willie Mays into 27th place on the all-time list. It was Ripken's 524th two-base hit. It also put him into a tie for 31st place with Dave Parker for career extra-base hits. Miller confirmed that Doug Johns will start tomorrow against his former team. Miller again rested Eric Davis last night. Davis continues to be bothered by a sore right elbow and has not played the last three games. Jeff Reboulet saw his first action since May 16 last night. He received his seventh start, working in place of Roberto Alomar. Brady Anderson's first-inning single gave him hits in nine of his last 10 games after ending an 0-for-27 skid.
Pub Date: 5/23/98