When Richie Lewis takes the mound for the Orioles tomorrow against the Oakland Athletics, he can thank reliever Todd Frohwirth for what's expected to be another brief visit to the majors.
When Frohwirth entertained the crowd with his hat and glove tossing after being ejected in the fourth inning of Wednesday's 10-8 loss to the Seattle Mariners, manager Johnny Oates brought in Alan Mills in long relief. Because Mills was scheduled to start tomorrow, the Orioles were left with no starting pitcher. Thus the start for Lewis, who will be called up from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.
"Lewis will pitch on Saturday [tomorrow]," Oates said after meeting with general manager Roland Hemond and assistant general manager Frank Robinson following yesterday's 2-1 win over Seattle. "We will make our roster move on Saturday [tomorrow] morning."
That move will more than likely mean placing Joe Orsulak on the disabled list. Orsulak injured his left thumb in Kansas City on Saturday while attempting to make a diving catch of Wally
Joyner's triple. The team's leading hitter, with a .307 average, Orsulak has missed five straight starts, and Oates said his only availability now would be as a pinch runner because "he can't hit or throw."
Lewis may face the same fate that he did the last time he was called up by the Orioles, when he was sent back to the minors after pitching the second game of a doubleheader against the Red Sox in Boston. In 4 1/3 innings, Lewis allowed three runs on five hits and six walks -- but was credited with his first major-league win when the game was called in the sixth with the Orioles leading, 4-3. In his last start for Rochester on Monday, Lewis pitched a two-hitter in a win over Toledo.
A hat trick on Frohwirth
Frohwirth was much more relaxed yesterday than he was after being ejected from Wednesday's game by umpire Larry Barnett.
The ejection led to Frohwirth's throwing a ball into the screen, then heaving his cap and glove onto the field. That sidearm exhibition led to the posting of a sign on the bulletin board outside the Orioles clubhouse: Glove and Hat Throwing Contest Tomorrow, 4:45.
"I didn't even know that was up there," Frohwirth said, after being asked about the sign. "Now, I laugh about it. I'm over it." There wasn't a more helpless man at Oriole Park yesterday than Seattle right fielder Jay Buhner after Brady Anderson's triple -- which eventually resulted in the winning run -- hooked into the right-field corner. Few balls this season have made it into the corner, the location of a large gate outside the groundskeeper's office. When a ball travels into the area, the effect is often like that of a pinball.
"You never know what it's going to do when it gets down in there," said Buhner, who disappeared from view while retrieving the ball. "I'm sure [Anderson] knows it. You can run for days when the balls goes in there. It hits the rubber mat and goes all over."
Chito Martinez, the Orioles right fielder yesterday, said there is no way to prepare for that situation once the ball gets into the corner.
"I've never had to handle a ball hit like that, but that's just something you have to adjust to when the time comes," Martinez said. "You can't practice that. You can only hope that the ball doesn't bounce around too much."
A 1-2 punch, then . . .
One of baseball's best one-two combinations continued to produce. Mike Devereaux, the Orioles' No. 2 hitter, knocked in both runs yesterday, giving him 19 RBI in the past 18 games. Devereaux, who leads the league in triples with 10, and leadoff man Anderson combined to drive in 10 of the Orioles 13 runs during the series. There wasn't, however, much production from the meat of the lineup. Cal Ripken, Sam Horn and David Segui -- the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters -- were 0-for-8 with three walks.