Milacki hopes rejuvenated curveball will be his ticket back

July 18, 1992|By Paul Sokoloski | Paul Sokoloski,Contributing Writer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- When he lost his concentration over the past few weeks, Bob Milacki lost his spot in the Orioles' starting rotation. But if he finds his curveball, the 27-year-old right-hander thinks he could be back in the big leagues soon.

"I could see something was going to happen, the way I've been pitching," said Milacki, who was demoted to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday. "They had to make some changes. They hadn't been playing well. We're in a pennant race, and you can't let it get out of hand."

Milacki was 5-7 for the Orioles, and his first start at Rochester was postponed by rain last night. He is scheduled to go today at 6 p.m. in the first game of a seven-inning doubleheader against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.

"Down here, maybe I'll be able to relax a little more and get myself back in the groove," Milacki said.

His main problem, he thought, was his inability to throw the curve for strikes in key situations.

"My breaking ball hasn't been my strong point," Milacki said. "I've been getting people out with a fastball and changeup."

That didn't work long. After starting the season 5-3, Milacki was 0-4 in his last six starts.

"Basically, I've been getting hurt giving up a lot of big innings putting runners on base," said Milacki. "I'd make a couple of good pitches, then I'd give up a double or a home run early in the game."

Milacki allowed 11 first-inning runs in his last six outings. "I have to start being more consistent the whole game," he said.

Things began to look bleak for Milacki's remaining in the rotation last week, when some personnel moves were made.

"Arthur [Rhodes] came up and threw well," Milacki said. "And then Storm [Davis, whom Rhodes replaced] is coming off the disabled list. And my last six starts have been really bad."

, Milacki is eager to head back to the Orioles.

"I hope it'll be as soon as possible," he said. "Hopefully, it'll only be for a couple of starts and I'll get it back together. I hope I make it back there before September first."

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