Spring Training

Orioles notebook

February 26, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

SARASOTA, FLA. — Utility outfield role suits McLemore just fine

Second baseman to learn new skills

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mark McLemore arrived at Twin Lakes Park yesterday, ready and apparently eager to face the challenge of another new role.

He adapted readily to the utility role that manager Johnny Oates laid out for him a year ago, but that did not involve learning any new defensive skills. This spring, he will be asked to play the outfield, something he seems confident he can do.

"I'm very confident," he said. "I just want to play, period. If it's in the outfield, that's fine. If it's on the infield, that's even better. Obviously they want me to play some. They are finding me another spot. That's good."

McLemore appears to be taking a positive approach to a potentially discouraging situation. He had a decent 1993 season in a platoon role at second base, but the club shifted gears during the off-season and acquired full-time second baseman Harold Reynolds. McLemore wasn't tendered a contract in December.

The Orioles eventually re-signed him, but he is back in the same situation as he was last year -- needing to win a job to remain in the major leagues.

"That was a total surprise," he said. "It was upsetting and frustrating at the time. It took awhile to figure out what was really going on. But it was just something else that I had to go through. Now, I have to make sure it doesn't happen again. The only way to do that is to do better."

Hammonds' first workout

Outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, the Orioles' No. 1 draft choice last June, went through his first big-league workout yesterday and expressed the hope that his first spring training will have a positive effect on his future with the team.

"I think it will help me have a great understanding of what I have to get done to make it to the show," Hammonds said. "I want to know everything it takes to be a better player."

Hammonds is expected to start the season with the Double-A Bowie Baysox, but he could show up in an Orioles uniform after the roster limit rises to 40 on Sept. 1.

"Right now, I would like to think so, but I just don't know," he said. "That comes down to how much I progress over the next five months."

Brady Anderson raised some eyebrows with his sideburns last spring. This time, it's what's on top that had everyone buzzing after he arrived in camp yesterday. His curly hair is standing even taller than it did during his Beverly Hills 90210 period last year, prompting a few well-chosen comments from manager Johnny Oates.

"I said, 'Brady, I know you're trying to make a statement, but I don't know what it is you're trying to say,' " Oates said. "I told him that I like it, just keep your hat on."

Oates was impressed with what he saw of Rule V draftee Sherman Obando yesterday, but it is too early to evaluate his chances of making the club.

"He doesn't remind me at all of the last Sherman I saw here," Oates said.

He was referring, of course, to last year's Rule V choice, diminutive outfielder Darrell Sherman, who bore no resemblance in appearance or style of play -- to the rangy, power-hitting Obando.

Lopes goes over base-running

The first order of the first day of full-squad workouts was a lecture on base-running by first-base coach Davey Lopes. Lopes made his presentation to the entire team, but he said he also will be working individually with selected players again this year.

"Right now, we're refreshing the basic things," Lopes said. "Part of it is pointing out some of the things that may have happened last year."

Lopes will be working individually with outfielders Anderson and Mike Devereaux, second baseman Reynolds and utility man McLemore.

Cook on All-Star team

Orioles pitcher Mike Cook has been named to Baseball America's Winter All-Star Team after an outstanding performance for the Santurce club of the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Cook was 8-2 with an 0.60 ERA in 29 games, including a strong performance in the Caribbean Series. He was the only Orioles player to be named on either the first or second team.

Catcher Todd Pratt, who was signed as a minor-league free agent last year by the Orioles but lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule V draft, also made the first team after hitting nine home runs for the Oriente club of the Venezuelan Winter League.

Hammonds' new look

Director of player personnel Doug Melvin did a double take when he spotted Hammonds.

"I didn't recognize him," said Melvin. "I had to follow him into the clubhouse to see who he was. It looks to me like he's built up his upper body."

Hammonds is in camp primarily because it was part of his contract negotiation, but the Orioles also feel his presence will help him get acclimated. "It should be beneficial to him since he didn't play in the Instructional League," said Melvin.

"Ideally we would have liked to have him play last fall, but our philosophy with college players is for them to go ahead and get their degrees out of the way."

Hammonds needs two more semesters to get his degree from Stanford. "I'm not like [Mike] Mussina, who could get it all done in 3 1/2 years," Hammonds told Melvin.

Hammonds, who is projected to play in the big leagues within three years, probably will start the season with the Double-A Bowie team that will play at Memorial Stadium.

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