Martinez swings out of spring slump

Extra innings

March 28, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right fielder Chito Martinez was in an 0-for-21 slump just a couple of days ago, but he has delivered a big hit in each of the past two games.

Martinez hit his second home run of the spring on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins, and he came back to hit a two-run triple in yesterday's 5-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Grant Field.

"I've been working hard with Greg [Biagini] on staying back and seeing the ball," said Martinez, whose eighth-inning triple gave the Orioles a temporary two-run lead. "I had been flying open with my shoulder and it was causing me to be way out in front. I was just trying to do a little too much."

The slump dated to the game early in the exhibition season in which he jammed his shoulder attempting a diving catch. He got so frustrated that he questioned whether he still was assured of a place on the Orioles' 25-man regular-season roster, but that personal crisis apparently has passed.

"I didn't get a bunch of hits the past two days," he said, "but I feel good again. I just want to be comfortable. I feel like I've got a chance when I go up there now. For a while, I was going up there feeling like I didn't have a chance. Confidence is a very important thing in this game."

The Orioles need Martinez to get back into the swing that made him one of the club's most dangerous hitters in August and September last year. He is batting just .200, but he ranks third on the club with eight RBI.

"I've just been trying to do too much instead of sticking with the basics," he said. "Before I knew it, I was 0-for-15."

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