Miller gives Baysox power punchIn his first at-bat of the...

Minor-league notebook

May 09, 1993|By Kent Baker Red Wings: Now in center

Miller gives Baysox power punch

In his first at-bat of the season, Brent Miller hit a home run off the scoreboard at Labatt Park in London, Ontario, carrying the Bowie Baysox to a 5-2 victory.

"It was a great way to start," he said. "You don't expect that t happen."

Despite a stutter step because of a pulled muscle, Miller's ba has been marching forward smartly ever since.

On a team that has had such sluggers as Jeffrey Hammonds (before his promotion to Rochester), Stanton Cameron, T. R. Lewis and Tim Holland, the quiet first baseman has wielded the biggest stick.

Entering the weekend, the Columbus, Ga., native topped the Baysox in home runs (five), RBI (13) and slugging percentage (.600) and was hitting .317, second on the team to Jim Wawruck. Last week, he had nine RBI in six games. Maturity is the big reason for his splurge.

"He was young for Double-A last year, but still did a good job," said manager Don Buford. "Now, his maturity is about like the difference between night and day. Brent is really confident."

Miller, 22, admits he was "surprised" to be in Hagerstown last season where he hit just four home runs while playing half his games in a cavernous park. But he hit 28 doubles off outfield walls to prove he hadn't lost his stroke.

"I don't think I lost any power," he said.

This is a left-handed hitter who with 19 homers the previous season in Single-A, ranked second only to Chito Martinez (20) for the most in the Orioles system.

Soon, Martinez was an Oriole. Miller may well follow.

"Last year he had a long swing and tried to hit home runs," sai Buford. "He has changed to a shorter stroke and I'm impressed. He has power to all parts of the park. I think you're going to see him in the majors and he could be an everyday player."

Miller was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of hig school, but did not sign.

An All-American at Middle Georgia Junior College where he wa shifted from third base to first, Miller was the Orioles' 19th pick in 1990 and now he is playing in an erstwhile major-league park.

"I like the atmosphere at Memorial Stadium," said Miller. "Even without thousands and thousands of fans, the ones who are here sure stay in the game."

So does Miller.

NOTES: Wawruck had two four-hit performances in a span of five games and joined the Eastern League leaders with a .348 average. . . . Going into the weekend, four Baysox pitchers are holding the opposition to a sub-.200 average, Jim Dedrick (.115), Chuck Ricci (.160), Terry Farrar (.182) and Jason Satre (.195). . . . After 14 home dates, Bowie was fourth in the league with an average attendance of 2,291. . . . Memorial Stadium has been kind. The team is 11-4 at home. Last year, as the Hagerstown Suns, it had the worst home record in the league (29-40).

7/8 ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- When manager Bob Miscik lost Damon Buford, he needed a center fielder and it didn't matter that the replacement, Jeffrey Hammonds, was projected as a right fielder. Hammonds has played all four of his Red Wings games in center. Miscik said he had no immediate plans to put Hammonds right, where another Orioles No. 1 draft pick, Mark Smith, plays.

Hammonds adjusted quickly to Triple-A -- three of his first fouhits went for extra bases, including a home run, and was batting .421 after four games.

But hold off casting his Hall of Fame plaque. Miscik saiHammonds still can use some work on his fielding and his throwing.

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