Any witch way, Red Wings put broom to losing ways

MINOR-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

May 25, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, could witchcraft be the last resort of a slumping Triple-A baseball team?

The Rochester Red Wings, who are mired in a slump during which they have gone without consecutive wins since a sweep of the Norfolk Tides on April 24-26, have gone the "double, double, boil and trouble" route to turn around their fortunes.

It seems that a fellow named "Brother Wease," a popular morning drive-time host on WCMF Radio, employed the services of one "Jan the Witch" to go into the Rochester clubhouse last Wednesday and use various and sundry potions, incantations and spells to get the Red Wings flying again.

In the short term, the plan worked, at least for outfielder Jim Wawruck, who had been in a 5-for-44 slump the previous 11 games.

"Jan" applied a potion to his bat, which produced a two-run homer to break a 1-1 tie and give Rochester a 3-1 win over the Columbus Clippers. Wawruck, not so surprisingly, has picked up the nickname, "Warlock."

Just to keep all bases covered, "Jan" placed a hex on the Clippers for that game, and they were held to two hits. The Red Wings might want to consider hiring "Jan" as a pitching consultant, since that's the area that has failed them most.

Rochester starters have won just one game since May 1, and starters Kevin McGehee, who won the International League ERA title last season, John O'Donoghue and Brian DuBois are a combined 1-11 and have pitched to a joint 6.47 ERA. DuBois was released Monday.

The starters have been so ineffective of late that manager Bob Miscik has had to deplete his bullpen, which, in turn, forced him to use Rick Krivda, the lone effective starter, in a relief turn Saturday, his first such stint since 1991. Krivda took the loss in 11 innings against the Syracuse Chiefs.

And as if the Red Wings haven't had enough pain and misery, their bus driver showed up late to take them to Syracuse for Sunday's game. The driver didn't arrive in Rochester until noon, and the team didn't get into Syracuse until 1:20 p.m., just 40 minutes before game time, so they missed batting and infield practice. They dropped a second straight 11-inning contest to the Chiefs.

Anybody have Elizabeth Montgomery's number?

Fussin' and fightin'

Twenty members of the Single-A Frederick Keys and 22 Durham Bulls have drawn fines and suspensions for their participation in a May 14 incident in Durham, N.C., that nearly led to a brawl.

Durham batter Robert Smith hit a tapper up the first base line in the first inning. Frederick pitcher Scott Emerson scooped up the ball and applied a tag that Smith apparently thought was too hard.

Smith removed his helmet and assumed a fighting pose, but neither he nor Emerson swung at each other. The dugouts cleared, but no punches were thrown.

Players from both teams who left their positions or the dugout were fined and suspended under new National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues guidelines.

Neither Frederick manager Mike O'Berry nor Durham manager Matt West was fined or suspended, as each was judged to be trying to maintain order.

The suspensions will be served over the next 20 games, and players will be suspended by alphabetical order. No more than two position players and one pitcher will serve punishment at the same time, so as not to unduly hamper either team.

Miscellaneous

Recently demoted Arthur Rhodes will make his first start for Rochester against Columbus and will take DuBois' spot in the rotation. . . . Damon Buford led off Saturday with a homer, his fourth of the year, which surpasses his 1993 combined total with the Orioles and Red Wings. . . . The sod is expected to be laid at Prince George's County Stadium, the Double-A Bowie Baysox's permanent home. . . . Bowie slammed 10 homers in six games last week after hitting only two in its previous 17 contests. . . . Baysox manager Pete Mackanin moved Hector Vargas to second base and Edgar Alfonzo to shortstop while installing Bo Ortiz in the cleanup slot. Ortiz hit three-run homers Wednesday and Saturday. . . . Frederick outfielder Clayton Byrne returned to the Baysox after a week at Rochester. . . . The Keys drew a season-high 9,822 and 9,892, respectively, Saturday and Sunday against Durham. . . . Tomorrow's home game against Wilmington will start at 4 p.m., rather than the usual 7:05 p.m.

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