Pennington knows he has lot of work left

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

April 26, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer JoAnna Daemmrich and Milestones and Memories contributed to this article.

The hard-throwing, hard-hit Brad Pennington took his demotion to Triple-A Rochester yesterday in realistic fashion.

Pennington, whose last pitch was sent onto Eutaw Street by Ken Griffey, said: "I have to become a little better with the location of my fastball to left-handers. I've proven I can get right-handers out. It's the left-handers [6-for-7] who are killing me. I'm going to .. work on my slider to get left-handers out, too."

The transaction leaves Jim Poole as the only left-hander in the bullpen.

Orioles manager Johnny Oates likened his bullpen to an inverted pyramid, with Mike Oquist, Mark Eichhorn and Mark Williamson sharing three spots at the top of the inverted pyramid, Poole and Alan Mills in the middle and Lee Smith at the bottom.

Rhodes not answer

Oates said he is open to the idea of flopping right-handed reliever Oquist and left-handed starter Arthur Rhodes, but only if he thought Oquist would be a better starter than Rhodes.

"I don't think we'd make that move out of a need for another left-hander in the bullpen," Oates said. "We would go get someone before we did that. We would be limiting Arthur's growth by doing that. To get where he's got to go, he's got to pitch."

Rhodes (0-3, 10.95) makes his fourth start today.

Scalpers, beware

Hey all scalpers, looking to score a quick buck off the Birds? Better be quick, or you could be stuck with more than an extra ticket.

Anyone caught scalping tickets to the Orioles games could be slapped with heavy penalties under a measure introduced in the Baltimore City Council last night.

Councilman Joseph J. DiBlasi introduced the bill that would double the current $500 fine for scalping. He also wants to put an end to all the street hawking of tickets around Oriole Park.

Orioles fans can't walk more than a couple of feet without encountering a half-dozen people trying to unload unwanted tickets, says DiBlasi, who introduced a companion measure prohibiting street sales in the shadow of the stadium.

"If you walk up Conway Street, you might be asked five or six times to buy tickets," he said. "I think the Orioles just want to discourage that sort of thing. You can still sell tickets at face value -- just do it at the office or close to home, not right at the stadium."

Only a week ago, the councilman from the 6th District introduced a bill that would impose some of the toughest sanctions in the nation against fans who try to intercept fly balls. His bill calls for fines of up to $500 and/or community service requirements of at least 100 hours for those who interfere with balls in play at the stadium.

Medical updates

Third baseman Chris Sabo's back improved enough for him to start last night. "We'll see how long it lasts," said Sabo, who went 0-for-5. . . . Center fielder Mike Devereaux (strained left groin) might return to the lineup as early as today. . . . Designated hitter Harold Baines (strained left groin) remains sore, but Oates said he is not considering putting Baines on the disabled list, although he likely will be out a few more days. Baines hit .356 against Oakland last season.

Hammonds hurts leg

Outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds was seen favoring his left leg in the clubhouse after last night's game, but shrugged it off as relatively minor.

Hammonds, who reached base on four of five plate appearances, scored two runs and drove in two more, in the Orioles' 8-6 win over Oakland, has not missed a game this season and handled three fielding chances without difficulty.

Lefebvre's back in town

After leaving the organization for five years to manage the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs, Jim Lefebvre is back with Oakland as the hitting coach.

A quick look at the A's hitting statistics suggests Lefebvre, long considered one of the game's top teachers of hitting, already has had an impact.

Stan Javier, a .251 lifetime hitter, is hitting .397 after two hits last night. Other improvements: Geronimo Berroa (.233, .423), Mark McGwire (.249, .340), Troy Neel (.288, .321) and Terry Steinbach (.274, .323).

Sunday's eighth one more time

Oates would have been willing to break one of baseball's unwritten rules and intentionally walk the go-ahead run in the eighth inning Sunday, but for the presence of Jay Buhner behind Griffey.

"As soon as I saw who was hitting behind him, I forgot about that real quick," Oates said. "He had the same number of RBIs and was hitting about 30 points higher."

Miscellaneous

The Orioles open a seven-game road trip tomorrow at California. Ben McDonald (4-0, 3.18) faces left-hander Chuck Finley (0-1, 5.86) in the first game. Left-hander Sid Fernandez (0-0, 2.38) opposes John Dopson (1-2, 6.00) in the second. . . . Smith's 10 saves are more than any other bullpen in baseball. Cleveland, the Yankees and Boston were tied for second with seven going into the Red Sox's late game last night.

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