- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2001

DEVIL RAYS 3, ORIOLES 2

BALTIMORE By his own admission, Tom Trebelhorn is as aggressive as third-base coaches come. Rarely does the Baltimore Orioles' coach hold up a runner trying to score.
Perhaps Brady Anderson was thinking about Trebelhorn's reputation as he approached third on Chris Richard's seventh-inning single up the middle during yesterday's 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Camden Yards. Because the veteran outfielder, shocked to see his coach's hands up in the air as he gave the "stop" sign, could not avoid brushing Trebelhorn as he tried to slam on the brakes.
Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck instantly ruled Anderson out by interference, thus preventing the Orioles' potential tying run from scoring and possibly deciding the game's outcome.
"You just run until you're held up," said Anderson, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and nailed a runner at the plate with a one-hop throw from right field. "As soon as I heard him hold me, I stopped immediately."
No one involved denies that contact was made. The Orioles, however, insisted Anderson should be allowed to remain at third base, and baseball's rule book seems to back them up.
Rule 7.09i states that if "in the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base … by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him returning to or leaving third base," then the runner is ruled out by interference.
Anderson, Trebelhorn and Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove argued that the brief collision Anderson put his hands on Trebelhorn's back to avoid falling over did not aid his return to third base.
"I didn't think that Tom assisted him in any way by stopping him or getting him back to the bag," said Hargrove, who argued with Hirschbeck for several minutes while holding back the irate Trebelhorn. "[Hirschbeck] just said if he saw any contact, then the man is out. I told him I've seen runners run into third base coaches a lot and not be called out. He said they should have been."
Said Trebelhorn: "I kind of got caught in no-man's land, and he bumped me. I did not touch him, but he did bump me. And in the judgment of the umpire, that contact assisted him in returning to the bag, so that's why he was called out. My fault. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Having already scored one run on the Richard single and with cleanup hitter Jeff Conine coming up, the Orioles would have had a good chance to tie the game or take the lead if Anderson had been ruled safe. As it turns out, Conine never got the opportunity to drive in another run, because following the Anderson out, Richard was called out after oversliding second on a stolen base attempt.
Baltimore's second loss in three days to the cellar-dwelling Devil Rays came at the expense of emerging right-hander Calvin Maduro, who made his case for a permanent spot in the starting rotation with seven strong innings. Given a chance to make two starts one last week during a doubleheader at Texas and this one in place of injured right-hander Willis Roberts Maduro has given Hargrove back-to-back quality starts.
"If it was [an audition], I did my best out there," Maduro said. "If they're going to give me a shot, I'll do my best. If they move me back to the bullpen … I just want to pitch."
In yesterday's outing, Maduro (0-3) was tagged for three early runs but proceeded to shut the Devil Rays out after that, retiring the last 11 batters he faced before giving way to reliever Ryan Kohlmeier. Whether the 26-year-old Aruban remains in the rotation will depend on the Orioles' plan for Roberts, who appears to have recovered from a right knee injury that kept him from making this start.
Wildly inconsistent in his rookie season in the rotation, Roberts may be headed for the bullpen to serve as the late-inning right-hander the Orioles lack after Mike Trombley was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week.
Hargrove and vice president of baseball operations Syd Thrift expect to make a decision within days, one that could determine Roberts' career path.
"We don't want it to be temporary," Hargrove said. "If the decision's made to move Willis to the bullpen, that decision can always be reversed. We can always go back. But I think any decision we make, we would like for it to be in the best interests of the ballclub permanently."

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