Busy bullpen may send Oates in search of extra arm

Orioles notebook

April 13, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Manager Johnny Oates is considering adding an 11th pitcher, possibly in time for tonight's game against the Texas Rangers.

With his bullpen burdened by 14 innings of work over the weekend in Seattle, Oates had only scant relief available for last night's starter, Mike Mussina. "Depending on what happens, an 11th pitcher could be here as early as tomorrow [tonight]," Oates said before the game. He said the move, if made, probably would only be temporary.

Because of baseball rules that prohibit optioned players from being recalled in less than 10 days, except in the case of injury, Anthony Telford was the most likely candidate to be promoted. Because the right-hander cleared waivers before being assigned to Triple-A Rochester and no longer is on the 40-man roster, he is not restricted by the 10-day minimum stay in the minor leagues.

However, if the Orioles brought up Telford and then tried to return him to the minor leagues again he could refuse the second outright assignment and become a free agent.

"Frank [assistant general manager Frank Robinson] and I talked about it [the possibility of adding an extra pitcher]," said Oates. He wouldn't say how the club would make room for an 11th pitcher, only that the move wouldn't be made at the cost of a player. That means someone would have to be optioned to open a spot.

"It would only be temporary," said Oates, who wouldn't indicate which players on the squad might be involved. Outfielders Luis Mercedes and Chito Martinez, first baseman David Segui -- or a pitcher who wouldn't be available for four or five days anyhow -- would be the most obvious possibilities.

The possible need for another relief pitcher was heightened by the probability that Fernando Valenzuela could be limited to five innings in his first start of the year tonight.

"We'll limit him to about 70 pitches," said Oates. "We'll see how it goes. If we can get five innings out of him that's about all we can expect -- the most he threw this spring was 50 pitches."

Oates supports Olson

Gregg Olson second-guessed his selection of the pitch Tino Martinez hit for a double to tie Sunday's game in Seattle. But Oates disagreed with his closer, saying he had no choice under the circumstances.

"It was a decent pitch, my only question is why I threw it," Olson said of the curveball hit by Martinez. "I've probably thrown him 10 [curves] in a row if you go back to the last two or three times I faced him.

"I thought I had the best stuff I've had all spring, but I got myself in trouble by getting behind [Lee] Tinsley [who opened the inning with a single]," said Olson.

Oates didn't question Olson's logic, but said the pitch selection for Martinez was the proper approach. "He'd faced him three times before and struck him out all three times -- on low curveballs," said Oates.

"If that pitch was 10 inches lower, I guarantee you he [Martinez] would've swung right over it and we'd have been out of there."

B. Ripken bounces back

Rangers second baseman Bill Ripken missed Sunday's game with a sprained ankle but was back to face his old teammates last night.

Ripken quietly contributed to two rallies, bringing home a run with a squeeze bunt in the second inning and scoring a run after leading off the seventh with a single.

Anderson swipes one

Left fielder Brady Anderson stole second base in the top of the first inning to record his first stolen base of the season. Anderson stole 53 bases in 69 attempts last year on the way to becoming the first American League player to hit at least 20 homers, drive in at least 80 runs and steal at least 50 bases.

Not this year

Center fielder Mike Devereaux was the best hitter in the league with the bases loaded last year, batting .520 (13-for-25) and driving in 38 runs, but he has come back to earth during the first six games of 1993. He is 0-for-4 in bases-loaded situations this year, including one in the second inning of last night's game.

Williams honored

Jimmy Williams, Orioles first-base coach for the 1983 world championship season, will be inducted into Canada's Baseball Hall of Fame in ceremonies before tonight's Blue Jays-Mariners game at SkyDome.

Williams, who was born in Toronto and lives in Joppa, Md., served on the Orioles coaching staff from 1981 through 1987. Before that, he had distinguished careers as a minor-league manager and player.

Miscellaneous

Rookie Sherman Obando probably will make his second start of the year tonight. Obando started Saturday night's game in Seattle, but left the game after his first at-bat with cramping in both calves. . . . Anderson and Devereaux still have hit safely in every game this season. . . . The two home runs last night gave Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez his 10th career multi-homer game. That ties a Rangers record held jointly by Larry Parrish and Toby Harrah.

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