Long relief or starter, Sutcliffe is ready to go


September 16, 1993|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Right-hander Rick Sutcliffe has not made a game appearance since he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery three weeks ago, but he played understudy to Mike Mussina last night.

"If Mike tightens up, Rick will be ready to pitch," manager Johnny Oates said. "If he's not in the game Orioles notebook

by the fifth inning, then he'll get in a good workout."

Sutcliffe has warmed up in the bullpen a couple of times since he was activated, but has not been close to coming into the game.

Mussina was able to start last night, but struggled, leaving in Boston's three-run fourth inning with the Orioles trailing 6-4. Todd Frohwirth got the call, but Oates just as easily could have called on Sutcliffe.

"He's in long relief now," Oates said. "In that situation, you might not pitch for 10 days at a stretch. Alan Mills was in that situation for much of the last two years. If you don't pitch for a few days, you get in a real workout in the middle of the game. But you can't throw too much, because you have to be ready to pitch five innings the next day."

Last night was a good night for Sutcliffe to throw, since the Orioles have the day off today. He figures to remain in long relief for the remainder of the regular season.

Two more players recalled

The Orioles recalled pitcher Mike Oquist and infielder Manny Alexander from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings after the completion of the minor-league playoffs.

The arrival of Oquist will give the Orioles an extra arm in long relief and a possible spot starter. Alexander doesn't figure to do more than pinch run, but he earned a September recall with another solid season.

Clemens fact?

Here's a statistic that shows how impressive Roger Clemens' career has been. When he left the game after five innings and registered the victory, it was the first time in his career he had won a game and pitched less than six innings.

Gomez sits

Leo Gomez is available to play, but he remains on the bench because Oates can't justify playing him ahead of the new third-base platoon of Mike Pagliarulo and Tim Hulett.

"He's available, but the other two guys are playing better, so it's tough to get him in there right now," Oates said. "I've talked to him about it. It's just one of those things."

Gomez isn't complaining, but he plans to make up for the playing time he has lost this year by playing the entire winter league season in his native Puerto Rico. That plan of action is endorsed by the Orioles.

"I think so," Oates said. "Anything he does physically, I think will be beneficial to him."

Brady feeling better

If outfielder Brady Anderson looks a little more spry the past few weeks, it's no accident. He's beginning to shake off a variety of nagging injuries that hampered him throughout the first five months of the season.

"Yeah," he said with a laugh, "just in time for the season to end."

Anderson had been hobbled by soreness in his knees during the early months of the season, which explained why his stolen-base total has dropped precipitously from last year. But he looked fine last night, recording his 20th steal in the first inning.

"I'm feeling better, especially my legs," Anderson said.

The nagging knee soreness left him wondering if he paid a price for the extra sprint work he did last winter. "Sometimes, I wonder if I ran too much," he said, "but I'm not going to get down on myself for working out too hard."

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