The Cal Ripken Milestone March has taken to the road for the next six days, raising the possibility that Ripken's 400th home run might occur thousands of miles from Baltimore in the wee hours of the night back East.
Tonight, Manager Ray Miller admitted he had been tempted to use artificial means -- such as moving Ripken from seventh to second in the lineup -- to try to help produce the milestone homer at home, but resisted. Ripken entered tonight's game at Safeco Field one homer shy of 400 and 36 hits shy of 3,000.
"I thought about moving him up in the lineup," Miller said. "I could drop [number-two hitter Mike] Bordick and hit Rip second. But it wouldn't be right for the ballclub -- not because I mind him hitting there. He's hitting pretty good. But it would disrupt things."
Still, Miller said he might use that tactic in September (if the Orioles are out of contention) to hasten Ripken's 3,000th hit. "It depends on where we're at, and where he's at," Miller said. "It might be a consideration. It would get him one more at-bat a game."
The Orioles play six games, including tonight's, on this West Coast road trip, returning to Camden Yards on Aug. 5. Miller said he would consider benching Ripken for the last game in Oakland -- if Ripken hasn't already hit number 400, and if the benching made sense for Ripken physically -- to improve the chance that Ripken hits the historic homer in Baltimore.
"If I felt it would benefit him not to play, in the long run it might be a good idea to rest him here and give him a chance to do it at home," Miller said. "But I think you should never try to speed up something or delay it from happening. There are no guarantees in this world. If you have a chance to get it, get it. Something like that just has to happen."
While Ripken has been hesitant to discuss the milestone chase, Miller has not hid his excitement. "I want to see his 400th home run and his 3,000th hit," Miller said. "Those are pretty emotional things in baseball. . . . The other thing that would be great is if we run off about 25 of the next 30 and get back in [the race]. That would really make it special."
Wren Mans the Phones
General Manager Frank Wren remained in Baltimore today, preparing for Saturday's trade deadline. Baseball sources said a trade of left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes is imminent, and starting pitcher Juan Guzman also is likely to go.
Trades can be made after Saturday, but a traded player first must pass through waivers. . . .
Center fielder Brady Anderson was held out of the lineup with a sore left ankle. "He was dragging that foot a little bit [on Thursday], especially when he runs and then backs off," Miller said. "This is a pretty spacious outfield. If he's not 100 percent, I'd rather give him a day to get healthy."
Rich Amaral replaced Anderson in center field and second baseman Delino DeShields batted leadoff. . . .
Joe Foss, the Orioles' chief operating officer, made the trip and will get a tour of Safeco Field on Saturday.