Red Wings reeling from power shortage, but can Carey cure 0) it?

Orioles minor-league notes

May 31, 1992|By Patti Singer Suns' Buford catches glove praise

ROCHESTER, N.Y.HAGERSTOWN — ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- When most players say, "We take 'em one at a time," they're talking about games. When Rochester Red Wings players say it, they mean bases.

The Red Wings' lack of power had helped them lose six of their past seven games before Friday night's game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Just five of their 41 hits during the slump have gone for extra bases. Sixteen of their past 17 hits have been singles, and they mustered 12 straight singles before Ken Shamburg's double in the fourth inning of Thursday's loss.

The Red Wings need a pure home-run threat, and may have one now that Paul Carey has joined the team.

Carey, with nine home runs in 135 at-bats with Frederick, earned his promotion as much on the strength of his shoulder as on his bat. Carey, who underwent off-season surgery, hadn't been able to throw for the first month of the season.

"Paul is someone who has always swung the bat real well," said Stanford teammate and Red Wings catcher Doug Robbins. "It's obvious what the Red Wings and the Orioles want Paul to do -- be a power-hitting left-handed hitter.

The temptation is to place too much emphasis on what Carey can do, and expect him to carry the Red Wings out of their slump.

"I don't think he'll put too much pressure on himself," Robbins said. "He has been in situations before where a ballclub has depended on him and he has come through."

Robbins said it's up to the rest of the Red Wings to also do their jobs. Robbins has been one of the few hot hitters over the past week, so hot that manager Jerry Narron played the backup catcher in five games at first base to keep his bat in the lineup.

"I'm not taking it all on myself," said Robbins, who has eight doubles among his 17 hits in 60 at-bats.

He has the best on-base percentage, 41 percent. The team has a 32 percent on-base average because of some massive slumps. Shamburg was 8-for-79 before going 3-for-4 Thursday. Juan Bell is 0-for-30 with 10 strikeouts. Ricky Gutierrez is 3-for-36, Tommy Shields 2-for-22 and Ed Yacopino 7-for-39.

"I see a lot of frustration," Robbins said, "people putting pressure on themselves. We say someone has to step up and provide the spark that's needed. Everyone wants to be that person."

* The addition of Carey gives Narron five outfielders, and since none is hitting very well, it gives him flexibility in which ones he'll play. But that's not the way he wants to do it.

"I hate being in a situation where I can't have defined roles for the players," he said. "I like for them to know when they're going to play." HAGERSTOWN -- Center fielder Damon Buford has dazzled the Hagerstown fans with his play in the field, and last week he was producing defensive gems almost daily.

Buford started his week of great glove work with a spectacular play against Albany in the first game of a Memorial Day doubleheader. He took an extra-base hit away from Sherman Obando with a back-to-the-plate catch on the warning track in center field. The Suns won the game, 2-0.

On Wednesday against Canton-Akron, he chased down a liner in the right-center-field alley off the bat of Carlos Mota. The ball was skipping on the grass toward the wall when Buford, at high speed, knocked it down with his glove, adroitly slid to a stop and then scrambled to his feet to make a relay throw. Second baseman Rodney Lofton's perfect throw home caught Terry Crowley trying to score from first in a game the Suns won, 2-1.

One night later, Buford made a diving catch in right center on a sinking liner by Canton's Tom Eiterman. It came in another 2-1 Suns win.

NOTES: Sergio Cairo, the team's fourth outfielder at the start of the season, not only worked his way into the starting lineup, but now leads the Eastern League in hitting with a .337 average. Cairo has started every game since May 5. He replaced Steve Martin, one of the players acquired from San Diego in the Craig Worthington trade. Martin, upset over his playing time, left the club recently and asked to be traded or released. He is on the suspended list. . . . The addition of IF-OF Greg Roth from Rochester on Monday helped alleviate the problem of a shortage of outfielders. . . . Alexander is the team's hottest batter, hitting safely in 10 of his past 11 games. His average during that stretch is .409 (18-for-44). . . . Devares' seven-game hitting streak raised his average to .194.

Ken Murray

Key's Cameron turns on HR power

FREDERICK

FREDERICK -- Stanton Cameron hit 29 home runs in 318 games during five years in the New York Mets' system. This season with the Class-A Frederick Keys, the right-handed hitting outfielder has picked up the pace considerably, connecting for 10 homers in only 41 games.

Three of those 10 homers were hit out of Grove Stadium, including one that traveled some 460 feet in the air, according to Keys general Manager Keith Lupton. That blast easily cleared a 28-foot high will in left-center, which is 390 feet from home platete.

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