Benitez return gives Bowie extra closer

MINOR-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK

August 17, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

The Bowie Baysox didn't miss Armando Benitez.

Actually, Benitez has the highest ERA in the Baysox bullpen since his return to the Double-A team Friday. Benitez, who now shares the Baysox's closer role with Joe Borowski, has given up a run and two hits in his first 2 2/3 innings back.

Borowski has five saves and a win this month, not allowing a run while striking out 18 in his past 11 2/3 innings.

"I am very fortunate in that I have two closers," Baysox manager Pete Mackanin said. "If I had to put together a team from scratch, I would want this situation everywhere I managed."

The two closers are surrounded by a strong supporting cast. Besides Benitez and Borowski, Bowie relievers have allowed one run in their past 34 innings for a 0.26 ERA.

"My only worry is to get everyone in every three games," Mackanin said. "I don't care if it is just for one batter, just get them work."

Dave Paveloff and Kevin Ryan have combined for 18 2/3 scoreless innings. Only Steve Chitren has allowed a run. Chitren, however, has only given up that one run in his past 15 1/3 innings.

The only obvious omission from the bullpen is a left-hander. All five relievers are righties, but Mackanin said he views that as an advantage.

"Ryan and Paveloff are very successful at getting out left-handers even though they are right-handed," Mackanin said. "Teams are less prone in switching to right-handed batters against them because they aren't left-handed. It's almost like they are falling in my trap."

Ryan and Paveloff hold left-handed batters to a lower batting average than right-handers because of their best pitches. Ryan uses a hard sinker and Paveloff throws a screwball, which work better against left-handed batters.

With the addition of Benitez, the Baysox sent Garrett Stephenson back to the Single-A Frederick Keys. Stephenson and Benitez shared the award as best Orioles minor-league pitcher last year.

Rhodes shaking up rotation?

Arthur Rhodes, who was sent down to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings to pitch during the strike and started last night, could shake up the current rotation of Rick Krivda, Barry Manuel, Kevin McGehee, Brad Pennington and Mike Oquist.

Most of the rumors have Oquist becoming the closer even though he has a 2.95 ERA as a starter. The closer role has been shuffled all season. Eight pitchers have saves.

Rhodes struggled last night, allowing five hits and three runs in three innings.

Oquist has made six starts, getting a save in his only relief appearance. Rochester pitching coach Steve Luebber said another possibility is that the Red Wings might use all six in the rotation.

"In a way, we have a situation where we might need six starters," Luebber said. "We have a continuation of a suspended game [tomorrow] and have a doubleheader next Tuesday. So, we will deal with it that way."

The experiment with Pennington as a starter should remain intact. In his last start, Pennington held Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hitless for the first 5 1/3 innings, but walked six.

Baysox roll on the road

The Baysox have won seven of nine games on a 10-game road trip.

Bowie has continued this winning streak with a couple of late comebacks. On Saturday, the Baysox trailed 7-2 in the eighth at Albany-Colonie but scored nine runs in the final two innings to win, 11-7.

The next day, Bowie won its first extra-inning game of the season after eight defeats. The Baysox scored four runs in the final two innings to tie Albany at 7, eventually winning, 9-7, in 11 innings.

The Baysox end their 10-game road swing tonight in Portland, Maine, and will make an 11-hour bus trip back to Bowie. Officials expect the Baysox to arrive in Bowie at 9:30 a.m., and will have only 9 1/2 hours before their game against Albany-Colonie.

News and notes

Bowie's Joe Borowski and Frederick's Larry Shenk were named Double-A Eastern League and Single-A Carolina League Pitchers of the Week, respectively, by Howe Sportsdata International. . . . Jack Voigt was 5-for-31 (.161) in the last two road series for Bowie . . . . Rochester left fielder Jim Wawruck, who broke a blood vessel in his left ankle on Friday, is listed as day-to-day, but has not played since his injury. Bruce Dostal replaced him in the lineup on Saturday, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs in his first at-bats in 15 games . . . . In Rochester reliever Jason Satre's past three appearances, he has recorded only two outs. Satre gave up six hits and had a 80.60 ERA, and didn't retire a batter in two of those outings . . . . Red Wings catcher Greg Zaun is hitting .346 in his past 15 games, raising his average to .240. Zaun had just 15 hits in 107 at-bats (.140) from mid-April to the end of June. . . . Hector Vargas has had seven straight multiple-hit games for the Baysox.

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