Versatile Turner is looking for a role, any role, with Orioles Minor-league report

June 20, 1991|By Michael Wentzel BLUEFIELD ORIOLES

ROCHESTER, N.Y. DHC Q :`B — ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Shane Turner had played in Oneonta, Fort Lauderdale, Columbus, Albany, Reading and Philadelphia before he joined the Rochester Red Wings two years ago this month. For the Wings, he has played all the outfield and infield positions. During last winter, Turner worked out as a catcher.

"I think I could do it," he said. "I just hope there's some role up there I can fill." Turner, 28, originally selected by the New York Yankees in the sixth round of the June 1985 draft, has played an important part in the Wings' resurgence this season. He's batting .303 in 55 games with 60 hits and 33 RBIs. When Wings manager Greg Biagini put Turner in the third slot in the batting order after David Segui was called up, Turner began hitting and the Wings started winning.

An intense player, Turner often could be seen drop-kicking his helmet after a bad workout or at-bat.

"I had some problems early. I had a sore hamstring and it bothered me mentally too," he said. "I just concentrated on getting healthy and taking quality at-bats."

He also took extra hitting and worked off the tee with Biagini. He takes extra work in the infield to sharpen his skills at second base, his position this season. He has seven errors so far. And he's having his best season at bat since 1987 when he hit .334 for Albany and Reading.

"I don't want to be hot. I'm just being consistent. I don't want to be a streak hitter," Turner said.

Turner, a native of Los Angeles, is one semester short of a master's degree in sports management from California State University at Fullerton. He said getting married three years ago ZTC and expecting his first child in October has made him think of the future.

"I'll be a free agent at the end of this season," Turner said. "I'm happy with the way the Orioles have treated me. They've been honest with me. But I'm ready to make my move now. I'm not thinking about expansion either. I think I have to go to the majors now."

Elsewhere in Rochester, outfielder Chito Martinez popped his 15th home run in the second game of last night's doubleheader against Pawtucket. Martinez, who spent more than three weeks on the disabled list in May, has 44 hits and 39 RBIs to balance out 49 strikeouts in 143 at-bats.

CPitcher Anthony Telford (6-6), who entered last night on a 3-0 roll with a 2.04 ERA in his three appearances, gave up only four hits but two of them were homers in a 2-1 first game loss to Pawtucket.

Outfielder Scott Meadows' 11-game hitting streak was stopped Tuesday by the Red Sox. During the streak, he hit.486 (18-37).

Third baseman Craig Worthington hit safely in the first six games he played for the Wings. He has seven hits in 18 at-bats with two homers.

@ * BLUEFIELD, W.Va. -- Outfielder Mike Thomas will be looking for hits this summer and trying to avoid them in the fall.

On Friday, Thomas and the Bluefield Orioles will open the 68-game Appalachian League season at Huntington. On Aug. 9, Thomas, the third-round pick of the 1990 draft, will exchange his baseball equipment for pads and two-a-day workouts when he reports to the University of North Carolina for football practice.

"It's all about just having fun," said Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 216-pound quarterback and punter from Hamlet, N.C. "I've been doing it all my life. I've got to produce from both sides."

Thomas viewed last year's experience in Bluefield as the basics of his baseball education. He batted .203 (14-for-69) with nine RBIs and no homers in 24 games. In his final seven games before leaving for Fork Union Academy in Virginia, he batted .307 (7-for-23) with six RBIs.

Five other players and manager Gus Gil return from 1990's Bluefield team that finished 38-32. First baseman Gordon Graham, an 11th-round pick in 1990, batted .281 with two homers in 24 games. Second baseman Estaur Ruiz, an 18-year-old free agent from Caracas, Venezuela, will be the younger player on the Opening Day roster for the second straight year.

Pitcher back include lefthander Juan Mercedes (3-2, 5.35 ERA), righthander Brett Benge (0-1 in 91/3 innings) and righthander Shawn O'Connell (1-1, 7.31 ERA in a teamhigh 35 games).

Mike Judge

FREDERICK KEYS

* FREDERICK -- Manny Alexander and Damon Buford continue to run one-two in the Carolina League stolen base race with 25 and 23, respectively. Buford batted.324 during a nine-game hitting streak.

Sergio Cairo is fifth in the Carolina League with a .312 average. Mel Wearing was fourth in the league with 41 RBI's after hitting safely in 10 of 11 games.

John O'Donoghue had a no-hitter for 6 1/3 innings against Kinston; he and Mark Carper wound up combining on a one-hitter.

Doug Brown

HAGERSTOWN SUNS

* HAGERSTOWN -- Is the Hagerstown-Harrisburg season series tight or what? Of the 12 games, four have been decided by one run, five others by two runs. Four have gone extra innings. The Suns lead, 7-5.

Outfielder Victor Hithe, on loan to the Mexican League, hit safely in 11 straight games upon his return.

Infielder Tim Holland, during a six-game hitting streak, had the most prosperous game of the year by a Sun -- 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs in a 7-1 victory over Reading.

Rodney Lofton swiped 11 bases in 13 games . . . Baltimorean Mike Linskey had no decisions in two starts, compiling a 2.51 earned run average in 14 1/3 innings, after returning from Triple A Rochester . . . Promoted from Frederick, Daryl Moore gave up one hit and no earned runs in 6 1/3 innings in his first four appearances.

Doug Brown

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