- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2001

BALTIMORE All Greg Myers wanted was a chance to play, somewhat regularly, preferably for a contending team. That wasn't going to happen in Baltimore; it is happening in Oakland.
The former Orioles backup catcher returned to Camden Yards last night, happy to be playing a small part in the Athletics' second-half surge toward the postseason. Released by the Orioles on June 14, the 35-year-old veteran signed a minor-league contract with the A's on June 24 and was called up two days later.
Since he joined the team, Oakland has gone 40-16 and taken over the lead in the American League wild card race.
"I think that's just a huge coincidence," Myers said with a laugh.
Relegated to third-string status behind Brook Fordyce and Fernando Lunar when he was with the Orioles, Myers is Ramon Hernandez's sole backup with the A's and is playing two or three games a week. He's batting just .150 (9-for-60) but has four home runs for one of the hottest teams in baseball.
"It's a pretty loose group of guys," Myers said. "They have a good time. They play hard. We've got good pitching, play pretty good defense. If we keep running these guys out there every day, we have a good chance of winning."
Entering last night's game, Myers still held the distinction of leading Orioles catchers in RBI this season with 18. Fordyce has 17, Lunar 16.

Groom behind pace
With 32 games left this season (including last night), Orioles reliever Buddy Groom needs to appear at least every other day to extend one of the more impressive streaks in baseball.
The veteran left-hander has appeared in at least 70 games in each of the last five seasons, a feat matched only by Colorado's Mike Myers.
Earlier this year, Groom seemed certain to reach the mark again, having made numerous situational appearances against one or two left-handed batters. But his role changed somewhat he even served as Baltimore's pseudo-closer for about three weeks before Willis Roberts took over earlier this month leaving Groom with only 54 appearances before last night.
"I hadn't really looked at it that closely, as to where I was at," he said. "I don't know if I'll get it or not. If I do, I do. It's something nice to have."
For his part, manager Mike Hargrove said he'll do what he can to help Groom reach 70 appearances, to an extent.
"But it also has to help the ballclub and not be something that hurts our chances of winning a ballgame," Hargrove said. "I think it's an important thing. It speaks a lot about his durability and his ability to be a good pitcher. Most pitchers that aren't very good don't get the chance to have that many appearances in a year."


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