Ex-UMBC forward Watkins may bounce into baseball

MINOR-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

June 08, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Apparently, former UMBC basketball captain Brian Watkins has caught baseball fever.

An intern with the Double-A Bowie Baysox, he recently had a batting practice session with Orioles minor-league hitting coordinator Wally Moon and showed enough talent to merit further examination.

"He's a powerful young man with a strong physique," Moon said of Watkins, 6 feet 5, 230 pounds. "He can kind of clobber the ball. I recommended after the workout that he go get himself in shape and get back to me."

Watkins, 23, a forward in basketball, has not played baseball since he was all-Prince George's County at Crossland High.

"I don't want to prejudge him, but I didn't read him as real serious about it," Moon said. "I want to see him do a lot of running and throwing. If he gets himself ready, I want him to come back to me in late June or early July."

Watkins performs various duties with the Baysox, including helping the groundskeeper.

bTC

Rochester stadium takes wing

Reports from Rochester indicate that the new New York state budget includes a $15.2 million appropriation for the Red Wings' planned new $37 million stadium.

That money was the last hurdle in the city's effort to retain baseball and would enable Rochester to conform with new Triple-A facility standards by 1996.

The stadium would be asymmetrical with grass. It would seat 11,000 with 1,500-seat portable bleachers adding capacity when necessary.

Construction would begin in October and be completed by April 1996.

Deep trouble for McGehee

Rochester pitcher Kevin McGehee was taken off the Orioles' 40-man roster when Scott Klingenbeck was promoted last week. McGehee cleared waivers and is now on the Red Wings' roster.

He missed the first month with a strained right elbow and is 0-5 after giving up 12 home runs in 43 innings. Last year, when he was the International League ERA champion (2.96), he gave up 14 in 133 2/3 .

Rochester was pounded for 62 homers in the first 53 games. Reliever Brad Pennington gave up two three-run shots Saturday night.

'A' rating for Double-A pitchers

Klingenbeck wasn't the Baysox's only successful pitcher.

"We wouldn't be afraid to call any of Bowie's starters," said Orioles assistant general manager Doug Melvin. "But Scott had pitched in a lot of big-game situations -- for Team USA for instance."

The Baysox's hottest pitcher at the time was Brian Sackinsky, the organization's Pitcher of the Month for May. He was 4-0 last month with four walks in 44 innings.

This and that

Injured Paul Carey, scheduled to join the Red Wings in 10

days, was a CBS-TV commentator on a College World Series game. Carey hit a 10th-inning grand slam for Stanford off Louisiana State's Ben McDonald in the 1987 semifinals. . . . After striking out 24 times and walking four in the past two weeks, Manny Alexander has been instructed to stand in the box . . .

and not swing at the first pitch . . . while Rochester's starter warms up before games. . . . Alexander's two brothers, Kenny, 16, and Ricky, 15, impressed manager Bob Miscik last week. They went to first from home in 4.0 seconds. "If anybody in our organization asks, I'd say they're people we might consider signing," Miscik said. . . . Greg Zaun's number switch from 1 to 6 hasn't helped. Since changing in an effort to end a slump, he has gone 2-for-36. Overall, Zaun is 15-for-105 in his past 31 games. . . . In their 28-10 romp over the Harrisburg Senators on Sunday at Shipley Field, the Baysox set team records for runs, total bases (50), runs in an inning (14) and homers (seven). Alex Ochoa and Brent Miller became the fourth minor-league duo to homer twice in the same inning and the first since 1947. . . . As if the lineup weren't potent enough, first baseman Billy Owens was promoted from Frederick to replace the injured Rob Lukachyk (jammed neck). Owens led the Keys with 11 homers. . . . Bowie catcher Cesar Devarez was named Eastern League Player of the Week && and Howe Sportsdata International Minor League Batter of the Week. . . . Bryan Link moved from the outfield to first at Frederick to make room for organization Player of May Harry Berrios, who batted .447 in his first 10 Keys games. . . . Tom Myers (0-1, 6.59 ERA) was released from the Keys.

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