For now, Hammonds goes way of Baysox Spring Training

Orioles notebook

April 01, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There was one cut yesterday that did not raise an eyebrow, even though the player involved already may be one of the best outfielders in the Orioles' %J organization.

No. 1 draft choice Jeffrey Hammonds was optioned to the Double-A Orioles notebook

Bowie Baysox, though there is room to wonder if he will be there very long.

Club officials had promised themselves not to rush Hammonds to the major leagues, no matter what he did in spring training this year. The hamstring injury that limited his playing time made that decision a little easier, but he did make a good first impression on the Orioles' coaching staff.

"We kept an open mind," general manager Roland Hemond said, "but we knew that this was the most likely scenario. We were very pleased with the way he played."

Hemond said that it was just a happy coincidence that Hammonds would be playing right across town (at Memorial Stadium). The club placed him at the Double-A level to let him get acclimated to professional ball and because there are other minor-league outfielders on the developmental ladder ahead of him.

"We already had Damon Buford and Mark Smith in the outfield at Rochester," Hemond said. "You don't want your best prospects splitting time."

Hammonds, who tripled in two at-bats yesterday, batted .500 (7-for-14) with a home run and four RBI in the 10 games in which he appeared. It was not a lengthy audition, but he may have shown the Orioles enough to improve his chances for a midseason call-up.

Hammonds, 22, may have been the only player to head for the minor leagues with a smile on his face yesterday. He knew this was coming and is confident he'll be back soon.

"I have never put a timetable on myself, but if they have a need, I think they might consider me," he said.

Sutcliffe goes to bat

Rick Sutcliffe had an unusual time during his final spring tuneup as the Orioles beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-2, yesterday.

In the third inning, the right-hander failed to advance catcher Mark Parent on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Two pitches later, with the Cardinals ignoring him on the bases, Sutcliffe easily stole second.

Then, in the fifth, he hit what should have been a single between short and third, but Ozzie Smith threw him out from short left field. An inning later, in his last at-bat, Sutcliffe followed Parent's decisive three-run homer with a double that hopped off the center-field fence.

All of that activity on the base paths alone was enough to restrict Sutcliffe to six innings. He allowed two runs and only two hits and finished spring training with a 3.04 ERA (nine runs in 26 2/3 innings).

After the game, Sutcliffe proclaimed himself fit and ready for his Opening Day assignment against the Texas Rangers on Monday. "I threw 100 pitches, and you should be able to complete a few games with that many pitches," he said.

In relief of Sutcliffe, Todd Frohwirth pitched two scoreless innings and Alan Mills pitched the ninth for his third save.

Flanagan goes home

Left-hander Mike Flanagan returned home yesterday to have his sore shoulder re-evaluated. The club has given him permission to continue working out with the team, but he probably will do most of his rehabilitation at the Bennett Institute on Greenspring Avenue.

Manager Johnny Oates deflected questions about Flanagan yesterday, because he was preoccupied with the extensive roster cuts the club was in the process of making. But he said recently that he is hopeful that Flanagan will pitch in the minor leagues and get in a position to help the club sometime this year.

Oh say can you sing Nicole

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