FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There is one cloud in the Orioles' otherwise brilliantly rosy pitching picture this spring.
For the second time in five appearances, Todd Frohwirth was treated rudely yesterday. The right-handed reliever gave up four runs in the ninth inning of the 8-5 win over the Minnesota Twins.
It was the second time that Frohwirth had given up that many runs in the ninth inning -- the Philadelphia Phillies got that many to beat him, 8-4, 10 days ago.
"Am I concerned?" manager John Oates repeated a question. "I don't think concerned is the word I'm looking for -- but I'm waiting to see what I saw last year.
"So far I haven't seen that nasty sinker he threw last year. But it's early. We'll watch him the next couple of times he goes out."
As in the game against the Phillies, Frohwirth did not appear to have much velocity yesterday. But he also is experimenting with different pitches, which could explain his inconsistency. Two days before he was effective in finishing the 8-3 win over the Montreal Expos.
"I'm not overly concerned about him," said pitching coach Dick Bosman. "It's nothing to get alarmed about. He's not that far off.
"For him, this much can make the difference," said Bosman holding his thumb and forefinger daylight distance apart.
Frohwirth has made more appearances (five) than any other pitcher on the staff, and all of the runs he has allowed have come in two games. He has pitched five scoreless innings, but allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in the other three for an ERA of 10.13.
The team ERA went up to 2.15 yesterday, but is 1.63 when Frohwirth's numbers are subtracted.