Sackinsky, Fab 5's fifth, does a number on expectations

MINOR-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

July 06, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Foremost was the phenom (Jimmy Haynes), whose promotion to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings last week broke up the Double-A Bowie Baysox's Fab Five starting rotation.

Then, there were the local favorite (Annapolis-born Rick Forney), the only left-hander and married member (Vaughn Eshelman) and the pitcher who had his day in Baltimore (Scott Klingenbeck).

Conversely, the fifth starter, Brian Sackinsky, was a virtual unknown, a 1992 second-round draft choice who had staggered with the Single-A Frederick Keys in his first season and dropped all the way to Rookie ball.

No more.

Sackinsky "is quietly becoming the ace of our staff," said Baysox manager Pete Mackanin. "It's satisfying to see because his attitude had been, 'They don't like me.' He's not a highly touted guy and has been like the underdog on the staff. But now, he's starting to make his move."

The Orioles' organization's Pitcher of the Month for May, Sackinsky has posted impressive numbers since April ended. In that span, he is 6-2 with 68 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 81 innings.

A 220-pound right-hander from the Pittsburgh suburbs, Sackinsky knows he has to overcome the early flop that occurred after he came highly recommended from Stanford, where he played with Mike Mussina, Jeffrey Hammonds and Paul Carey.

"I think that hurt me," he said. "It was the pressure of being picked high and trying to adjust from pitching once in a week to every fifth day. Now, I don't feel as much pressure."

Mackanin said Sackinsky reported in excellent shape and is developing into a "mentally tougher" pitcher.

"I don't think of myself as a phenom," Sackinsky said. "I'm more of a workhorse. And now, I've learned how to deal with pitching well and losing."

With an 11-17 career record entering this year, he didn't appear to be moving up quickly. But that has changed.

"I know you can't control the winning," he said. "It makes it easier to have a ballclub like ours behind you that can hit."

Stargazing

Rochester is sending pitcher Rick Krivda, outfielder Sherman Obando and manager Bob Miscik (as a coach) to the American League squad for the Triple-A All-Star Game next Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn.

It is the third straight year that Krivda (7-5, 2.86 ERA) has made an All-Star team. Obando is hitting .328 with International League-leading totals of 25 doubles, 44 extra-base hits and .629 slugging average.

Bowie will be represented by catcher Cesar Devarez (.323, 41 RBIs), infielder Hector Vargas (.312) and Eshelman (9-5, 4.69) in the Double-A All-Star Game on Monday in Binghamton, N.Y.

Eshelman replaces Haynes, who was elected before his promotion. Mackanin will be an AL coach.

This and that

Haynes was one pitch away from a seven-inning shutout in his first start for the Red Wings. He won, 6-1. . . . Krivda was not happy that he was bypassed for promotion to the Orioles again. "It's like when you're a kid," he said. "There's always one kid who's picked over. That's how I feel, picked over." He was 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA last month. . . . John O'Donoghue has

returned to the Rochester rotation after six weeks in the bullpen. Jason Satre goes to relief after winning only once since his first two starts. . . . Manny Alexander led the International League in fielding at shortstop last year, but now, playing both short and second base, has 14 errors in 51 games. . . . Bowie, the Eastern League's top-hitting team, went 27 innings without scoring and amassed only two runs during a four-game period. . . . Garrett Stephenson, who had 101 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings at Frederick, lost, 2-1, in his first Baysox start. . . . Baysox closer Armando Benitez finished June 4-0 with a save, an 0.86 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 21 innings. He permitted just 17 base runners. . . . Carey is scheduled to be moved up, probably to Rochester, after batting .333 in nine games with Frederick. He is rehabilitating from a fractured wrist suffered in spring training. . . . Keys outfielder Kim Bartee batted .376 in June with 15 steals. . . . Shane Hale (2-3, 4.07) and infielder Matt Riemer (.242) advanced the Keys from the Single-A Albany Polecats. Outfielder Todd Brown, son of Orioles roving minor-league pitching instructor Tom, and infielder Chris Sauritch moved from the Rookie-level Bluefield Orioles to Albany. . . . The Rookie-level Gulf Coast Orioles lost 10 of their first 12. Only five players are batting above .200.

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