Club still seeks spring home, Lucchino says Split-site arrangement is fine for now, though Spring Training

Orioles notebook

February 27, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles president Larry Lucchino said yesterday that the club is "refocusing" its efforts toward the acquisition or construction of a permanent spring training facility.

The Orioles spend the first two weeks of spring training at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota, then move to the Huggins-Stengel Complex in St. Petersburg and play their games at Al Lang Stadium. The club isn't complaining about that arrangement, but Lucchino remains eager to move into a new, all-in-one facility.

"We've got a good, workable arrangement here," he said. "The manager and the coaches are satisfied with it. But in our minds, there is a missing piece in the puzzle when you look at the Orioles. That missing piece is a first-class, permanent facility, but it takes two to tango. We can't do it by ourselves."

The Orioles were close to putting together a package two years ago that would have led to a facility in nearby Naples, but the deal unraveled when insurance giant USF&G pulled out of a sponsorship arrangement.

Lucchino said efforts to arrange for another site have been ongoing, but that the club has not been in a position to focus entirely on it.

"We've had so many other things going on," Lucchino said, "especially with the new ballpark up there. Now we are in a position to focus our attention on getting this done over the next few years."

Ferraro's pet projects

New infield coach Mike Ferraro is hard at work with first baseman Glenn Davis, who apparently has developed some bad habits in the two years since he played regularly on defense.

"We are changing a few things," Ferraro said. "When I saw him for the first time, he was pretty much one-handing everything and he was fielding ground balls on the outside of his left leg. Basically, we're working on staying under control."

Ferraro also will be working with third baseman Leo Gomez on his technique with the glove, though the club was more concerned last year with improving his lateral movement.

"Infielders have a tendency to wait for the ball to get to them," Ferraro said. "I'm of the philosophy that you should attack the ball. I'm trying to get Leo moving toward the throw when he fields the ball. That will increase his velocity and and cut down on the possibility of throwing errors."

Where is Hammonds headed?

Assistant general manager Doug Melvin has seen reports that No. 1 draft choice Jeffrey Hammonds will be starting his minor-league career with the Double-A Bowie Baysox, but he doesn't know where that information is coming from.

"We haven't made any determination on that," he said. "I have seen that written. I think a lot of people have assumed that. But we just want Jeff to enjoy being in major-league camp and see what happens."

Nevertheless, Hammonds probably will start out at the Double-A level, where many top-flight college prospects begin.

Oquist finds camp crowded

Right-hander Mike Oquist will get another look this spring, but he figures to get lost in the crowd of pitchers vying for the last one or two spots on the major-league staff.

"They haven't really told me a whole lot," he said yesterday. "You can't worry about that kind of stuff. Hopefully, things will bounce your way."

Oquist was 10-12 with a 4.11 ERA with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings last year. He has moved up in each of his four minor-league seasons but is a long shot to take the final step this year.

"That's up to them to decide," he said. "I have confidence in their decision, and I'll be happy with whatever they decide."

Tackett 100 percent

Catcher Jeff Tackett is scheduled for one more X-ray, but he says that his broken collarbone has become just a distant memory.

"The only time I even realize that I ever had a broken collarbone is when people ask me about it," he said.

There had been some concern expressed about the first time someone runs into Tackett at home plate, but he dismissed that as an insignificant risk.

"I haven't had anyone run me over in a couple of years now," he said.

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