BOSTON - Orioles outfielder Lou Montanez checked the Double-A box scores yesterday afternoon and got the news that he was hoping to see. Akron's Wes Hodges didn't drive in any runs, leaving him with 97 RBIs. Erie's Ryan Roberson didn't have any home runs, leaving him with 25 for the season.
That combination allowed Montanez to clinch the Eastern League Triple Crown despite not having played for the Bowie Baysox since Aug. 4. Montanez became just the fifth Triple Crown winner in Eastern League history and the first since 1976, when Danny Thomas did it for the Berkshire Brewers.
It was the latest highlight to a season in which Montanez also won the Eastern League Most Valuable Player award and made a smashing major league debut by homering in his first at-bat, becoming the first Orioles position player to accomplish that feat.
"You never really expect it," said Montanez, who entered last night's game hitting .340 with a homer and seven RBIs in 19 games for the Orioles. "But yeah, it's been the perfect season so far."
In 116 games for the Baysox, Montanez hit .335, well ahead of Reading's Lou Marson, who was second in the Eastern League at .314. Montanez's 26 homers were one more than Roberson and his former Bowie teammate Nolan Reimold, who homered yesterday. Montanez and Hodges finished the season tied with 97 RBIs despite the fact that the Akron third baseman played in 17 more games.
Montanez said that since getting promoted to the Orioles, he kept track of how close other players were to his league-leading totals. He even playfully chided Bowie outfielder Mike Rodriguez, a close friend, for costing him an RBI earlier in the season.
"There was a man on second and I hit a double to the wall and he didn't score," said Montanez, who played in the minors for nine seasons before getting his first big league call-up. "We were kidding around that it could have cost us. I'll call him up today and laugh about it."
Trembley takes high road
Orioles manager Dave Trembley wasn't aware that Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon was adamant that Jim Johnson intentionally hit Jason Bartlett in the eighth inning Sunday. Trembley also had no interest in getting involved in war of words.
"No one said anything when they were beating us 11-0 and they were sending runners in and beating us 13-1, still sending guys," Trembley said. "I didn't say anything. But I have no comment."
When he was traded to the Orioles from the Colorado Rockies in the Rodrigo Lopez deal in January 2007, Jim Miller was confident that if he pitched well, he would eventually get a big league opportunity.
That finally came Sunday when the right-handed reliever was called into Triple-A Norfolk manager Gary Allenson's office and told that he was going to the big leagues.
Miller, 26, got the call after going 3-5 with a 3.09 ERA and 10 saves for the Tides.
"It would be ego talk if I said I was expecting it," he said. "I was just hoping that something was going to happen. I felt like I put myself in good position. I was just kind of waiting for that call. It was pretty awesome."
With rosters eligible for expansion yesterday, the Orioles also recalled pitcher Garrett Olson and activated outfielder Adam Jones from the disabled list.
They'll make a couple of more additions in the next few days, including recalling reliever Kam Mickolio.
Injured closer George Sherrill (left shoulder inflammation) made 25 throws from 100 feet and felt fine. He'll do it again before tomorrow night's game and if all goes well, he'll throw a bullpen session Friday. ... Melvin Mora (strained left hamstring) said he's feeling better, but it's still unlikely he'll play on this road trip.