Baines, Reynolds head newcomers' charge

Orioles notebook

February 25, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manager Johnny Oates will put the Orioles through their first full-squad workout today and get his first official look at a couple of prominent newcomers.

Second baseman Harold Reynolds and outfielder/designated hitter Harold Baines are expected to be among the position players who will begin preparing for their March 5 exhibition opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field in nearby Bradenton.

Shortstop Cal Ripken also will be on hand, hoping to pick up where he left off last spring rather than last October. He had a difficult 1992 season, but has had more than four months to overcome the list of nagging injuries that dragged down his performance last year.

Ripken has turned in tremendous preseason performances each of the past two springs. He led the club with a .380 average in the spring of 1991. He ranked among the club leaders with a .366 batting average last year and led the club with 17 RBI.

Many of the position players have arrived. Center fielder Mike Devereaux showed up and took part in yesterday's final pitcher/catcher workout. First baseman Glenn Davis, utility players Tim Hulett and Steve Scarsone, third baseman Leo Gomez and outfielder Chito Martinez also reported early.

Spring priorities

Oates has outlined his spring priorities, and they are similar to the ones he outlined a year ago. He wants to see the club improve its situational hitting, do a better job running the bases and become more versatile on defense.

Base-running coach Davey Lopes will lecture the club today on base-running techniques and go over specific problems that he saw last year.

The versatility project will center on Mark McLemore, Scarsone, Martinez and Hulett. McLemore will work in the outfield, Scarsone will need to show he can play all infield positions, Martinez will work at first base and Hulett is working behind the plate.

McDonald repertoire

Right-hander Ben McDonald talked a lot last year about adding a forkball to his repertoire, but pitching coach Dick Bosman said yesterday that McDonald's pitch selection is fine the way it is.

Bosman said McDonald will improve steadily with the pitches he has, but there could be some refinements later in the season. The maturation process may be more important than an expanded choice of pitches.

"Ben's going to be a little better every year," he said. "It's like bringing up your kids. There's no timetable for when they are going to do certain things. You just look to bring them along at their own pace."

The great communicator

Oates has gained a reputation among his players for being a good communicator, but he wants to be better. He said recently that he plans to make his open-door policy more open this year.

He was told by one player recently that it is difficult to find time to talk to him. The point was also driven home by a tongue-in-cheek scene from the Orioles' highlight film, in which DTC Brady Anderson and Devereaux sneak into the manager's office claiming they have never seen the inside of it before.

"You ask me what I learned from last year," Oates said. "Maybe that's it."

DuBois throws

Left-hander Brian DuBois, who is trying to come back from his second elbow operation, threw for 15 minutes yesterday and reported no problems.

"It felt real good," he said. "I only threw for 15 minutes, but I had a pretty good curveball."

DuBois, 23, will take part in the minor-league minicamp that will open this weekend at Twin Lakes Park, but he isn't expected to be back at full velocity until April. If this appears to be his last stand, he isn't looking it that way.

"I'm still young," he said. "If I had another setback and needed surgery again, I think that would be it. I'd probably be done. But hopefully, that won't happen."

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