Sutcliffe finds fault with his outing despite four shutout innings

March 19, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rick Sutcliffe turned in his strongest performance in three exhibition outings last night, limiting the Philadelphia Phillies to one hit in four inning in the Orioles' 1-0 win.

"My velocity was a little better," said the veteran right-hander, "and I threw some decent breaking balls. But my location -- and I hope this is the last time you hear me complaining about it -- still needs to get better."

Sutcliffe walked three and struck out three, and has walked six in the nine innings he's worked this spring. "That has to stop," said Sutcliffe, who nevertheless continues to be encouraged.

"I'll take four scoreless [innings] any time," he said. "I just need to make a few adjustments."

The Orioles scored in the 10th inning when Luis Mercedes led off with a double. He took third on a fly by Joe Orsulak and scored on a wild pitch by Darrin Chapin.

Horn to get into the swing

Sam Horn, the only player in camp who hasn't played in an exhibition game, is likely to get a lot of at-bats in games at the club's minor-league complex.

"I can send him down there [Sarasota] and get him eight at-bats a day if necessary," said manager John Oates. "What Sam needs right now is a crash course, and that might be the easiest way."

The Orioles minor-league teams will play camp games on Saturday, then start their exhibition schedule the following day against the White Sox organization. Horn, who has been sidelined for two weeks because of a pulled hamstring muscle, could serve as the designated hitter for more than one team, if necessary.

'B' game lined up

With the pitchers starting to stretch out as the exhibition schedule nears the midway point, the Orioles have added another "B" game.

They will play the St. Louis Cardinals at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, then again at 1:05 p.m. in the regularly scheduled game. "We have both [Mike] Mussina and [Jose] Mesa who need to go five innings," said Oates.

It's possible that some of the pitchers still in camp will make the trip to Sarasota with Horn to work in games at the minor-league complex.

Rotation set

Bob Milacki was the scheduled starting pitcher in today's game against Minnesota at Fort Myers. The Twins were to use right-handers Pat Mahomes and Jessie Cross.

Ben McDonald and Arthur Rhodes are due to face the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow, with Mussina listed for the "A" game Saturday against the Cardinals.

Pitching shines

Orioles pitchers have six of the top nine ERAs in exhibition play. Mussina and Mesa are tied at the top (0.00) after pitching nine scoreless innings apiece.

Milacki (0.90), McDonald (1.00), Sutcliffe (1.00) and Rhodes (1.13) are the others on the leader board.

Overall, Orioles starters have allowed only four runs in 40 innings for a combined ERA of 0.90.

Miscellaneous

Last night was the first time in five games that the Orioles failed to score in the first inning. In that span, the team batting average increased from .211 to .241. . . . The Orioles, who led the major leagues in fielding percentage last year, had made five errors, the fewest in the majors, before committing two last night. . . . There is nothing new to report on right-hander Eric Hetzel's bad shoulder. He could be out for the year. Hetzel is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews (of Bo Jackson fame) in Birmingham, Ala., but an appointment has yet to be set. Hetzel, signed in the off-season as a minor-league free agent, may undergo surgery.

TC

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