ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Before yesterday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Todd Frohwirth was asked what it was like to face his old team.
"You know," the Orioles reliever said, glancing toward the visitors' dugout, "I look over there and I really don't have any
That was before the game. In the last two innings, Frohwirth watched from the mound as six Phillies scored, two having hit home runs. The late burst ended the Orioles' four-game exhibition winning streak, as a 4-2 lead became an 8-4 loss.
It was obvious from the outset that Frohwirth wasn't throwing as hard as when he had pitched batting practice earlier in spring training.
"I would agree with that," said manager John Oates. "But he got beat with his fourth-best pitch, and I'm not sure he's even got three pitches."
Ricky Jordan and Mariano Duncan homered off Frohwirth, who is generally tough on right-handed hitters. "He threw me a good sinker, and I thought he would come back with it, but he hung a slider," Jordan said.
Primarily a fastball/sinker pitcher, Frohwirth had some nasty experiments with his breaking pitch.
"Both home runs were hit off his breaking ball," Oates said. Under regular-season conditions throwing them would not have been advisable, but spring training, even with a four-game winning streak on the line, is another matter.
"If you're going to improve those pitches, this is the time to throw them," said Oates, who seemed unconcerned by Frohwirth's rocky outing. "He didn't have much velocity, and his sinker wasn't sinking."
Pitching coach Dick Bosman also introduced the popular "dead arm" theory that usually comes into play about this time in spring training. "That would appear to be the case," Bosman said. "It's tough to tell because the wind played tricks all day -- it held up balls early in the game, then blew them out later. It's tough to pitch in the wind because your pitches react differently."
For Frohwirth, it was a long two innings. He gave up seven hits and six runs to absorb the Orioles' first preseason loss.
Frohwirth said he's a notorious slow starter, a factor that may have kept him off the roster at the start of last year. "I've never really thrown good in spring training," said the submarine-style right-hander. "The thing with me is I'm slow enough that hitters can't react too quickly, but their bats are slow this time of year, so I'm throwing right into their swing."
The two home runs matched the total Frohwirth gave up in 51 games with the Orioles last year.