Spring Training

Orioles notebook

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

WINTER HAVEN, FLA. — After getting bruised, Rhodes gets out batters

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Left-hander Arthur Rhodes doesn't have to compete for a job this spring, but he did have one question to answer when he took the mound against the Cleveland Indians yesterday. He needed to show that he was no worse for the line drive that knocked him out of his previous start in the second inning.

He showed that and more, giving up just four hits and two runs over five innings to put himself back on schedule for his first regular-season start on April 9. The shin bruise did not cost him a start, but it limited him to just 14 pitches in his previous start.

"He threw very well," pitching coach Dick Bosman said. "I was happy to see him get his work in. He's healing up after that delay with the shin. It was important for him to go out and pitch."

Rhodes' routine was not seriously interrupted. He came back in between starts to pitch and was ready to extend himself in yesterday's game. In four spring-training starts, he is 2-0 and has given up three earned runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Fernando positioned to win job

Left-hander Fernando Valenzuela appears to have moved to the front of the competition for the final spot in the starting rotation. He pitched in relief Wednesday and will do so again tomorrow, but manager Johnny Oates said that he doesn't expect his fifth starter to pitch very much out of the bullpen.

"I need a starter more than I need a bullpen guy," Oates said. "My sixth or seventh guy in the bullpen may not pitch at all in April, but we're going to need a starter 28 times this year."

Valenzuela has yet to give up a run in 12 innings of exhibition work. Mark Williamson, who came into spring training as the leading candidate to earn the job, has given up just one earned run in 12 innings, but has been less effective his last couple of times out.

The two of them will pitch tomorrow's game, with Williamson getting the start. They also will pitch together Thursday, with Valenzuela taking the mound first. The final decision probably will not be made until the day before the Orioles open the season against the Texas Rangers.

Telford throws well

Right-hander Anthony Telford followed Rhodes to the mound and gave up just one hit in three shutout innings. He has given up just three runs in 12 1/3 innings (2.19), but that might not be good enough to keep him in the hunt for the final place in the rotation.

"He threw the ball well today," Oates said. "It was a good time for him to have a good outing."

Oates said Telford still has a chance to win the fifth starter job, but it seems more likely that he will be traded to a team that needs pitching.

No surprise: infield set

Oates said yesterday that the Orioles' infield is set and utility infielders Mark McLemore and Tim Hulett have earned their places on the club.

That was not exactly a revelation. The utility situation was clarified when the Orioles traded Steve Scarsone to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Mark Leonard. Oates said it was never in doubt.

"I knew that Steve wasn't going to make our ballclub," Oates said. "I was satisfied with the middle infielders that we had last year. It wasn't anything he didn't do -- just what other guys have done for me."

McLemore was released and re-signed to a minor-league contract during the off-season, but he may actually end up with more playing time this year now that he has showed Oates that he can play a reserve role in the outfield as well.

"I'm more than satisfied," Oates said. "In my mind, you can put Mark down as a second baseman or an outfielder -- either one. I would have no problem starting him in the outfield, especially if [Mike] Devereaux or Brady [Anderson] is having a day off."

Game highlights

* Devereaux had three hits to break out of a spring slump. He entered the game batting .176, but raised his average to .237.

* Chito Martinez is taking his competition with newcomer Leonard seriously. He had two hits yesterday and has four hits in his past seven at-bats.

* McLemore had two hits in five at-bats. He also scored a run and drove one home.


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