Pennington confronts Hemond

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

June 06, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,Sun Staff Writer

Pitcher Brad Pennington, wanting to know why he isn't pitching more, met with Orioles general manager Roland Hemond for more than an hour Sunday, and later, Hemond spoke with Pennington's agent.

Pennington has had four appearances since May 6, pitching a total of 3 1/3 innings and has allowed six walks and five runs.

"I think like any young player who's as talented as Brad is, he needs to pitch," said Pennington's agent, Greg Clifton. "In spite of having a great spring training, he really hasn't gotten the ball. I'm not the manager, I'm not the owner, but I had hoped Brad would get more opportunity to this point."

Pennington, frustrated that he had not been used in the 9-5 win over Oakland on Saturday, went to Hemond's office early Sunday afternoon. According to Pennington, Hemond asked him be patient.

Pennington said yesterday, "Throughout my career, when I've pitched consistently, I've put up good numbers. I'm not asking for anything special. I don't want to be disruptive. But I don't think it's a whole lot to ask to get more opportunity."

Hemond said: "I'm glad when players want to play. I'm happy to see they want to be out there."

Clifton noted that there are players who don't want to deal with pressure, "the weight of the world upon their shoulders. Brad is not that way -- he wants the ball."

Clifton said he had not tried to pressure the Orioles into dealing Pennington.

But that could occur if Pennington continues to sit, and if he continues to struggle when he does pitch, such as walking the bases loaded before departing Sunday.

The situation is complicated for the Orioles, who cannot send Pennington to the minors without passing him through waivers, where he almost certainly would be claimed because young left-handers who throw in the 90-mph range are in

demand.

It's a Catch-22 for both Pennington and manager Phil Regan. The more Pennington sits, the less chance he has to work and the more ineffective he is when he does pitch. Pennington has allowed just five hits since the beginning of spring training, but since the season started he has walked 11 and struck out 10 in 6 2/3 innings.

No go on Gomez

Within 24 hours after Texas third baseman Dean Palmer suffered a season-ending biceps tear, baseball sources say Hemond called Rangers general manager Doug Melvin and offered him Leo Gomez.

But Melvin said no, which makes sense: Rangers manager Johnny Oates wouldn't play Gomez when he managed here. Texas is going to play rookie third baseman Luis Ortiz instead.

More Benes interest?

There has been some cursory discussion within the organization about renewing the pursuit of San Diego Padres right-hander Andy Benes.

But, as of Sunday, San Diego GM Randy Smith said he hadn't been contacted by anyone about Benes (0-5), who ranks among the NL leaders in strikeouts but hasn't won since last July 3.

Around the horn

The Orioles may do something today to bolster their bullpen. Possible promotion candidates (all right-handers) from Triple-A Rochester: Terry Clark (1-2, 3.00), Scott Klingenbeck (3-1, 2.85), or John DeSilva (5-3, 3.55). . . . Sunday night's 14-6 loss to the Athletics was an embarrassment for the bullpen, but Regan was encouraged by Armando Benitez's recovery in his last two innings of work. Benitez retired five of the last seven batters he faced, including three strikeouts. . . . Left-hander Sid Fernandez had "nothing to say" about his performance Sunday night. . . . Left fielder Brady Anderson, hampered by a back strain, didn't play last night. . . . Regan on Alan Mills, whose ERA climbed to 7.13 Sunday night: "In fairness to him, he's been up a lot [in the bullpen]. We're trying to give him a night off." . . . The Orioles signed No. 12 pick Carlos Aikens, a right-handed pitcher from Western Kentucky University, and No. 48 Wess Winn, a shortstop from the University of Texas-Arlington. Both players will be assigned to Bluefield, a Rookie League ball club.

BULLPEN BLUES

In just a month and a half, the Orioles bullpen has gone from very bad to very good to very bad:

Dates ...... ..... IP .... H ... R .. ER .. BB ... K .. ERA

April 26-May 3 ... 24 ... 34 .. 28 .. 25 .. 21 .. 16 .. 9.38

May 4-May 24 ..... 52 1/3 .. 30 .. 11 .. 10 .. 24 .. 44 .. 1.72

May 25-June 4 .... 27 2/3 .. 28 .. 24 .. 24 .. 22 .. 20 .. 7.81

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