Orioles' McDonald, Olson aren't thrown off by poor outings

March 17, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles pride themselves on the quality of their young pitching, but the two most valuable arms in the organization did not handle the Texas Rangers very effectively yesterday.

Right-hander Ben McDonald, who had not been scored upon in his first two exhibition appearances, gave up five runs in four innings. Relief pitcher Gregg Olson followed and gave up a run on two hits in his second one-inning appearance of the spring, but the Orioles came back to score a 10-inning, 10-7 Grapefruit League victory at Charlotte County Stadium.

"It was just one of those days," said McDonald, who gave up as many hits in a three-run second inning (three) as he had given up in his previous eight. "I didn't feel as good as I have. My arm wasn't as crisp. But I felt better than I threw."

McDonald also has been pitching with tightness in his rib cage, the result of an overzealous performance in his first exhibition appearance. A pulled muscle in his side kept him from making the club out of spring training last year, but he said that the rib-cage soreness is not in the same area.

"I just got too excited in the first game and tried to do too much," he said. "My whole body was very sore the next day. It's not where I pulled the muscle. It's up in the rib cage. It's just tight."

He worked through the soreness to pitch four scoreless innings his last time out, but yesterday's game was a struggle.

McDonald threw 91 pitches and had to work out of a bases-loaded situation after the Rangers scored two more runs in the fourth inning. This is about the time some pitchers go through a dead-arm stage, so he might be excused for the mediocre performance.

The playing conditions weren't exactly optimum, either. It was raining steadily when McDonald took the mound for the first inning, and the condition of the mound deteriorated as the game progressed.

Olson gave up a two-out double to Juan Gonzalez and a run-scoring single to Geno Petralli after he had retired the first two batters in the fifth inning. He retired the Rangers in order in a one-inning appearance on Tuesday night at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

"I was sharper than I expected to be the first time out," Olson said. "Today, I was a little sluggish -- I didn't feel in perfect sync -- but overall I felt good."

Manager Frank Robinson has had Olson on a decelerated schedule, hoping to preserve the pitcher's arm for the regular season. But Olson expects the pace to pick up in the next few weeks.

"Everything's good," he said. "I just have to get to the mound and get ready. I don't know what's going to happen, but I imagine that I'll be getting in there more often."

The best pitching performance of yesterday's game came from an unlikely source.

Newly acquired right-hander Dave Martinez, who came to the Orioles in the deal that sent Dave Gallagher to the California Angels, pitched two innings of one-hit relief.

Left-hander Paul Kilgus allowed the tying run in the ninth but was credited with the victory after the Orioles scored three runs in the 10th.

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