Atlanta Braves hitting coach Don Baylor said yesterday that he has not been contacted by the Baltimore Orioles about their vacant manager's job. Baylor, considered one of the top candidates, said he would listen closely if the Orioles did call.
"Like everyone else, I have a soft spot in my heart for my first team," said Baylor, 50, who came up through the Orioles' farm system and broke into the major leagues in Baltimore in 1970. "That's where I learned to play, under guys like Joe Altobelli and Rip [Cal Ripken Sr.]."
Baylor, formerly the manager of the Colorado Rockies, has interviewed with the Chicago Cubs for their manager's job, and is considered the top candidate in Anaheim.
Baylor said he is "bothered" by the Orioles' recent upheaval--in which Manager Ray Miller was let go and General Manager Frank Wren was fired unexpectedly--and the organization's damaged reputation around baseball. "The Orioles always had the class," he said. "They kept their own people."
He said the current situation in Baltimore "would not scare me away" if the Orioles called.
Rocket Is Ready
Roger Clemens won't pitch until the third game of the American League Championship Series, but it's already the game that's drawing the most interest. Not only will Clemens be returning to Fenway Park, where he enjoyed three Cy Young Award seasons for the Red Sox, he'll be pitching against Pedro Martinez, who was acquired to replace him as the staff ace.
"As much action as there's going to be on the field, I think there will be among the fans," Clemens said. "I don't have a problem pitching in Boston. Obviously, I know the mound and the surroundings."
Since leaving the Red Sox to sign with Toronto after the 1996 season, Clemens has pitched at Fenway Park three times, going 1-0. In his only start in Boston since his trade to the Yankees last spring, Clemens allowed four runs in five innings and got no decision.
Meantime, Martinez said his back felt fine after pitching six no-hit innings against Cleveland Monday night. He had left Game 1 of the Cleveland series with a back injury that had severely limited him until Monday night. "I'm sure I can be as good as I can be," Martinez said when asked about his Saturday start.
Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez, who will start Game 1, declined to discuss his age after a report that he's four years older than he claims to be. The Yankees media guide said Hernandez turned 30 on Monday, but New York Magazine reported that a document in his divorce case reveals he's actually 34.
"The only one that has got a right to ask me about my age is George Steinbrenner," Hernandez said through an interpreter, referring to the Yankees' owner. "George never asked me anything about my age."