Recalled Telford stops by, at least for a visit Pitcher realizes stay will be brief

June 29, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

Like Jeffrey Hammonds last week, Anthony Telford caught a flight from Rochester, N.Y., to Baltimore that was uncomfortable and not nearly long enough for him to catch a nap.

But unlike Hammonds, who has settled in nicely with the Orioles, Telford, a reliever called up yesterday from the Triple-A Red Wings to replenish an overused bullpen, is certain his travel plans will include a return trip to Rochester.

"It was rough. I flew on a commuter plane down here, but Jeffrey won't have to fly that way again," said Telford.

Theoretically, Telford, who was 4-6 with the Red Wings with a 4.29 ERA, could earn a spot in the Orioles bullpen with an impressive performance or two, though, even by his own reckoning, it isn't likely to happen.

"If I pitch long [last night against Toronto], I probably won't be here [today]," said Telford, who pitched two scoreless innings of mop-up work in the Orioles' 7-2 loss to the Blue Jays. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one.

It's not as if the relievers couldn't use help. The bullpen has been stretched near its limit in the past week, as starters Ben McDonald, Fernando Valenzuela and Jamie Moyer each failed to get past the sixth against Detroit and New York.

Their relatively early exits forced Alan Mills and Mark Williamson into extended turns, and Jim Poole, Todd Frohwirth and Brad Pennington also were called into service.

Pitching coach Dick Bosman said: "We all have our highs and lows and sometimes a few of your guys get their lows at the same time. It's nothing new."

Perhaps, but the bullpen situation is further complicated by Mills' decision to drop his appeal of a four-game suspension stemming from the brawl with the Seattle Mariners three weeks ago.

Mills is eligible to return tomorrow, but the Orioles couldn't afford to wait even that long and Telford was the logical candidate, with two previous times up with the Orioles.

"Who else?" said manager Johnny Oates. "Everybody else was tired. We needed him. He was the freshest arm and he had a little bit of experience."

Telford wasn't the first emergency pitching call to Rochester this week. John O'Donoghue was sent up Sunday to take Mike Mussina's spot in the rotation when Mussina developed a mild case of biceps tendinitis in his right shoulder.

O'Donoghue wasn't exactly crisp in his major-league debut, giving up six runs, nine hits and three home runs in 6 2/3 innings, as the Orioles fell to the New York Yankees, 9-5.

"John is a guy who takes great pride in his ability to locate all his pitches," said Oates. "He didn't do that. I told him, 'Hey, you came up and you got this out of the way. Now, you know what to work on.' "

Telford, 27, who shut out the Oakland Athletics on just one hit over seven innings in his major-league debut Aug. 19, 1990, has spot started and relieved this year at Rochester.

After six years in professional ball, Telford knows the score.

"I won't get comfy. I just brought seven days of clothing," said Telford. "I'll just go out and do what they tell me to for as long as they tell me."

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