McDonald glad to be making pitches count Spring Training

Orioles notebook

March 30, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Right-hander Ben McDonald pitched a rocky six innings in the Orioles' 11-5 exhibition victory over the Texas Rangers yesterday, but he could not complain about the way his spring has gone.

"I was not happy with my location today," he said. "But I came into today's game with just one walk in I Orioles notebook

don't know how many innings [15], including the five I pitched in a minor-league game. I'm pretty pleased with that."

McDonald gave up five runs on six hits to the Rangers, including a long home run to outfielder Jose Canseco, but he got the victory and improved his preseason record to 4-1. He will make his last preseason start Saturday at RFK Stadium before taking the mound for the first time in the regular season, April 9 in Seattle.

Even though he walked two and hit another, it appears he has accomplished one of his preseason goals -- to reduce the number of pitches necessary to get the job done.

"I had a lot of games last year when I went into the seventh inning with 115 pitches," he said. "You're going to do that if you strike out a lot of guys, but I've got to work to minimize my pitches. I felt great after last year, but Bozzy [pitching coach Dick Bosman] told me that I have to do something now or I'll be feeling it in five or six years."

McDonald also worked a little more on his changeup, which he hopes will help him be more effective this season. He used it in only a handful of situations yesterday, but he believes it could add an extra dimension to his game.

"I think you might see some more changeups this year," he said. "I saw [Mike] Mussina use it so well last year and I said to myself, 'If other guys can do that, I can do that.' My fastball is my best pitch, but if I can throw that [the changeup] in fastball situations, I can have a lot of success."

It worked for him on a couple of occasions, but he was hesitant to display it too much against the Rangers, a team that will be meeting the Orioles twice in the first 10 days of the season.

"I did some things differently today, since we're going to face those guys pretty soon," he said. "I'm going to face them in my second start of the year and Sutt [Rick Sutcliffe] is going to face them twice, so we're saving some things."

McDonald can't hold back his excitement over the 1993 season. He is coming off his first injury-free year at the major-league level and is hoping to step up from a 13-13 performance.

"You've got to be excited about this season," he said, "with the pitching staff we have and the lineup we can put together. No doubt about it, I'm expecting a lot out of myself."

Manager Johnny Oates said yesterday that he would like to see left-hander Mike Flanagan go down to the minor leagues to work his sore shoulder back into shape.

"He'll have to go out and pitch, but I'm all for it," Oates said. "What do I have to lose? He's got a chance to come back and help us down the road, but that is a decision that he'll have to make."

Flanagan received his second cortisone shot Saturday and could begin throwing today or tomorrow. He has not said whether he would go to the minor leagues to pitch.

Oates on Davis

The Orioles are going into the final days of spring training under the assumption that Glenn Davis will start at first base on Opening Day.

"I have no reason to think he would not," Oates said.

Davis had a hit in three at-bats yesterday and raised his exhibition average to .292, but he has appeared in only 10 of the Orioles' 21 Grapefruit League games.

Reynolds stays hot

Second baseman Harold Reynolds got off to a slow start at the plate this spring, but he has been swinging the bat well the past two weeks. He had two more hits yesterday, raising his exhibition average to .283, and has 10 hits in his last 26 at-bats (.385).

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