Braves put a deep dent in Haynes' spring finale McGriff HRs twice, Klesko once in 12-run barrage

Orioles notebook

March 29, 1996|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Fifth starter Jimmy Haynes can take one comforting thought out of yesterday's frightening outing against the Atlanta Braves. The only way he'll have to face first baseman Fred McGriff again this year is if the Orioles meet the Braves in the World Series.

McGriff hit two home runs and Ryan Klesko hit one as Haynes took a tremendous beating in the Braves' 12-5 exhibition victory. He gave up 12 runs on 11 hits over six innings and finished the exhibition season with an inflated 9.78 ERA, but still is scheduled to make his first 1996 start said. "He had terrible rhythm on his fastball. I left him out there to try and get something going and the last couple of innings he got a little better."

Haynes tried to shake it off and look forward to his regular-season debut, but he knows that he cannot afford also are waiting for a chance.

"I was just leaving the ball up today," Haynes said. "My mechanics were a little off. I don't like the way I'm doing now, but it's spring training and you're trying to get some things down. I'm not that concerned, but if I take that into the regular season it will be a big concern."

The Orioles didn't treat Braves starter Tom Glavine quite as rudely, but Bobby Bonilla took him deep in the first inning. His home run landed beyond the pitcher's mound on the practice field behind the left-field fence. Bonilla also added an RBI double.

Shepherd surprised, sort of

Right-hander Keith Shepherd knew something was up. He came to camp as a candidate for one of the club's long relief jobs and ended up pitching in setup and save situations. That's why he wasn't completely surprised when club officials told him yesterday that he was being reassigned to the Orioles' minor-league camp in Sarasota.

"The way I perceived things coming into camp and from what I was told, I thought I'd be a lock if I was healthy and throwing the ball well," Shepherd said. "But the only spot open was as a long man and I couldn't understand why they were pitching me in save situations if they didn't need a closer."

He got the answer yesterday. The organization asked him to go down to Rochester and work as the closer, so he would be ready if anything happened to one of the late-inning relievers.

"I understand," he said. "They were very honest with me. They were straight up when I asked."

Shepherd took the high road. He could have reacted bitterly, since he had several offers after an impressive season in the Puerto Rican winter league. He is convinced that he would have made a major-league roster if he had chosen differently, but he said he would go to Rochester and wait for a chance to come back.

"I'd rather be in the big leagues," he said. "I don't feel I belong in the minor leagues at all . . . but I feel I'll be back soon."

Ripken works overtime

Shortstop Cal Ripken stayed on the field after yesterday's game and took ground balls for 20 minutes, explaining he was stretching out the long throw from deep short.

"That's usually the last thing to come," Ripken said. "Last year, we only had three weeks so I pushed it a little because I had to. This year, I wanted to take my time. It's almost there."

Ripken said earlier this spring that he was experiencing some normal spring fatigue in his shoulder, but said yesterday that he is healthy and looking forward to Opening Day on Monday.

"Healthwise, this has been a good spring," he said. "I really

haven't had any of the little aches and pulls you usually get in spring training."

Krivda optioned

No one was surprised when the Orioles optioned Krivda to Rochester yesterday. He was the odd man out on a pitching staff that already had two left-handed starters and two left-handed relievers, even though he finished the Grapefruit League season with a 1.29 ERA in six appearances.

The Orioles will start the season with Haynes in the starting rotation, but if he continues to struggle, the club could elevate Rhodes into the fifth starter role and bring Krivda to the majors to pitch in long relief.

J. Myers could make cut

Reliever Jimmy Myers could be a surprise addition to the major-league club. He was expected to be reassigned to the minor-league camp, but the Orioles chose to keep him over Shepherd. He is not guaranteed a spot, since third-string catcher Cesar Devarez still is with the major-league club, but Johnson already has hinted that he will not start the season with three catchers.

Myers, a 26-year-old minor-league journeyman who spent a few days with the big club last year, has been the most effective

reliever in camp. He has appeared in six games and given up just four hits in eight innings to record a team-leading 1.13 ERA.

Smith misses cut again

Outfielder Mark Smith believes he's ready to play in the majors, but he fell victim to the versatility of veterans Bonilla and B. J. Surhoff. Since both of them can play in the outfield, the club could afford to keep three utility infielders and only one extra outfielder.

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