NEW YORK -- Right-hander Todd Frohwirth has been one pleasant surprise in an otherwise unpleasant season for the Baltimore Orioles, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement.
Frohwirth's deliberate delivery encouraged New York Yankees infielder Pat Kelly to steal third in a pivotal situation yesterday, which led to the decisive run in a 3-2 victory over the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
Kelly was safe without a throw because catcher Chris Hoiles dropped the pitch, but Hoiles apparently was rushing to compensate for Frohwirth's inability to hold the runner at second base.
"I don't know if Chris had a shot or not," manager John Oates said. "He said he had to rush and that's probably why he dropped the ball. I think we've seen the last few nights, a lot of people are running when Todd is pitching. We're going to have to work on that."
Frohwirth has a 1.17 ERA in 18 appearances since his contract was purchased from the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings on May 28, but he agrees that there are areas where he can be more effective.
"I've been weak with a runner at second and I have to work on that," he said. "Some pitchers can look at the runner and start their windup before they spot the catcher. I've never pitched well when I do that.
"I think there are a lot of things I can do better. I'm going to work on that, and hopefully I'm going to get better at a few other things."
In the meantime, Oates said he may have to alter the way he uses Frohwirth until the problem is resolved.
"He's just got a slow delivery," Oates said. "We're going to have to find a way to speed him up a little so people stop taking liberties."
Orsulak assist leader
Outfielder Joe Orsulak gunned down Alvaro Espinoza at second base in the third inning to record his 11th assist of the season and assume the major-league lead in that department.
Orsulak entered the game tied with Yankees right fielder Jesse Barfield and Montreal Expos center fielder Marquis Grissom. Tom Brunansky and Jay Buhner are next on the list with nine.
Evans can wait
Oates said that right fielder Dwight Evans almost certainly will remain on the disabled list until after the All-Star break.
"He came in yesterday [Wednesday] and said that he could be activated," Oates said, "but the doctors recommended that he rest until after the All-Star break. That's what we'll do, unless we have a string of injuries that force us to activate him."
Evans has been on the disabled list since June 14 with an inflamed Achilles' tendon.
Injured first baseman Glenn Davis continues to strengthen his right shoulder, and the Orioles continue to hold out hope that he will return to play this year.
"He's been gaining strength," general manager Roland Hemond said. "Since there has been progress, you'd like to think he'll be back on the field."
No sign of draft picks
The Orioles still have not signed first-round draft choice Mark Smith, but they are not alone. Only one of the top 12 draft choices -- Kansas City's Joe Vitiello -- is under contract one month after the June draft.
Cal Ripken came into yesterday's holiday game a combined 7-for-12 on Mother's Day, Father's Day and Memorial Day. . . . Since May 28, the Orioles' 3 main men in middle relief -- Frohwirth, Mike Flanagan and Mark Williamson -- have pitched 86 2/3 innings and have a 1.47 ERA.