- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2000

BALTIMORE The Baltimore Orioles game with the Oakland Athletics was rained out yesterday at Camden Yards. No make-up date was announced. The A's only other scheduled trip to Baltimore is for a three-game series Sept. 18-20, and the game could be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader during that set.
Pat Rapp, who was scheduled to start yesterday, will get the call in this afternoon's game at Tampa Bay. The right-hander said pushing his start back a day is no big deal.
"Not really," said Rapp, who has a 3-2 record with a 4.61 ERA. "It happens all the time."
Rapp has not recorded a win since April 25, but has had several effective outings since. The 33-year-old Louisiana native allowed no runs over seven innings against Seattle on Tuesday, but the bullpen was unable to hold the lead.
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove has altered the pitching rotation before to keep top starters, particularly ace Mike Mussina, working every fifth day. Jason Johnson recently missed a start last week to keep the rotation in order. But the manager said this time the entire rotation will be delayed a day.
"I don't want to skip Rapp," said Hargrove, whose team won four of five on the homestand. "We'll just back everybody up a day."
Rapp gained one of his wins against the Devil Rays when he allowed two runs on just five hits in five innings on April 20 at Camden Yards. The Orioles won the game 8-3.
"I saw Jose Canseco go on the [disabled list] last night," said Rapp, when asked about facing Tampa Bay. "That's one guy gone. But with the power-hitting lineup they have, you have to be careful with just about every hitter."
Even without Canseco, the Devil Rays feature sluggers Vinny Castilla, Fred McGriff and Greg Vaughn, who has 13 home runs.
Today's 4:15 p.m. game marks the beginning of a 10-game road trip for the Orioles (21-26). Baltimore plays four games in St. Petersburg, three in Montreal and then four games at the New York Mets.

C.J. on the mend

Charles Johnson was not in the scheduled starting lineup yesterday. The Orioles catcher was still healing after being hit in the groin with a foul tip on Friday night.
"I think I should be able to play [today]," said Johnson, who was replaced by Greg Myers. "It just depends on what Grover wants to do. I told him I felt pretty good. He had me in an emergency situation [yesterday]. I don't know what he wants to do [today], but I might be all right."
Johnson hit his seventh home run before he was rushed to the hospital in the sixth inning on Friday. It was his first homer since April 24. Johnson is hitting .277 with 23 RBI.
"C.J.'s a lot better than last night," Hargrove said before the game was called. "We'll just play it on the safe side and give him another day [off]."
The manager did not say whether Johnson will be back in the lineup today.
"Maybe," he said. "We'll see."

Groundskeeper's day all wet

The Orioles planned to have a pre-game ceremony for groundskeeper Paul Zwaska, who is leaving after 16 years with Baltimore. He has been the groundskeeper for all nine seasons at Camden Yards.
Zwaska, 39, will return to Wisconsin where he grew up and work for Beacon Ballfields, a company that sells athletic and groundskeeping equipment.
"It was a childhood goal of mine to be a major league groundskeeper," said Zwaska, who was named head groundskeeper after Paul Sanatarone retired in February of 1991. "This is an opportunity to get into another part of the turf business, and more importantly, a chance to return home to my roots, so to speak."
Al Capitos, who has served as groundskeeper for the Bowie Baysox and Richmond Braves, takes over the dirty job.

Rip out, just routine

Cal Ripken was not in yesterday's starting lineup. Hargrove said it was just to give the 39-year-old third baseman a day to rest. It has become customary this season for Ripken to sit out a day game after a night game.

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