Dobson focuses on innings, not runs High spring ERAs are OK with O's pitching coach

Orioles notebook

March 31, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

There is nothing more difficult than gauging spring training results. Veterans will say, with much justification, that exhibition performances don't mean anything, because they're just trying to get in shape.

On the other hand, for fringe players, spring performance can mean the difference between staying in the majors or playing in Triple-A.

Three members of the Orioles' five-man rotation had poor results this spring - left-handers David Wells and Kent Mercker and rookie right-hander Jimmy Haynes. But Orioles pitching coach Pat Dobson isn't concerned.

"The bottom line is that everybody got their innings in," Dobson said. "You're never going to have all five of them pitching good at the same time, anyway. That just doesn't happen."

Wells had a 6.67 ERA, allowing 45 hits and nine homers in 27 innings, and Haynes had a 9.78 ERA in 23 innings. Mercker threw four erratic innings yesterday and struggled, surrendering seven hits, three walks and three runs.

"Mercker didn't have much of anything," said Orioles manager Davey Johnson. "He felt kind of dead out there."

At the least, Dobson said, Mercker got his work in. He appears to be a little behind Mike Mussina, Scott Erickson and Wells, after being plagued for almost three weeks by the flu.

Wells allowed six runs in six innings against Boston Friday, but Dobson was happy with the way the left-hander kept the ball down in five of the six innings. In the second inning, Dobson felt the left-hander lost his concentration. "That's something that happens in spring training," Dobson said.

"Overall, though, our pitchers got their innings in. I'm very pleased with the progress a lot of guys have made. I'm very optimistic going into this season. I plan on this being a good pitching staff."

Wells starts against Kansas City Wednesday, and Mercker pitches in Minnesota Friday.

Haynes might be the biggest question mark, because he never really established command over either his fastball or his curveball this spring. He isn't scheduled to start until a week from today, and between now and then Dobson will work in the bullpen with him.

Roster not finalized

The Orioles demoted catcher Cesar Devarez to Triple-A Rochester, as expected, reducing the spring roster to 25. More interesting was what they didn't do: The Orioles did not finalize their 25-man season roster for the regular season, probably because they're still trying to make another move, possibly for a pitcher.

The Orioles have until 6 p.m. today, to set their 25-man roster, and are watching the waiver wire closely in the hope they could add some depth. They talked to Florida about right-hander David Weathers during the spring, but that deal died.

If the Orioles stick with the 25 players remaining, they would have to add second baseman Bill Ripken and pitcher Jimmy Myers, two nonroster invitees, to the 40-man roster today.

Rough beginning

Roberto Alomar fielded his first double-play opportunity as an Oriole in Camden Yards in the fourth inning, a grounder by Phillies left fielder Darren Daulton -- and flipped the ball past Cal Ripken for an error. Before the day was over, however, Ripken and Alomar turned two double plays.

Around the horn

After pitching four innings (three runs, two earned), Erickson went to the bullpen and threw three more simulated innings. . . . Catcher Lenny Webster talked to the Orioles after being released by the Phillies earlier this week. However, the Orioles would only offer Webster a minor-league deal, and Webster signed a big-league contract with the Montreal Expos. The Expos have three catchers now - Darrin Fletcher, Tim Spehr and Webster - and whenever they fall out of the NL East race, look for the Orioles to talk to Montreal about a deal. . . .

The paid attendance yesterday was 19,543, with actual attendance 33,912 and many giveaway beneficiaries. . . . The New York Yankees asked the Phillies about trading for second baseman Mickey Morandini, Philadelphia GM Lee Thomas confirmed yesterday, but were told Morandini is not available. . . . Tommy Davis, the Orioles' first pick in the 1994 draft, is being moved from third base to first, and will play at Double-A Bowie. He committed 37 errors for Single-A Frederick last year. . . . The two most impressive players in the Orioles' minor-league camp, farm director Syd Thrift said yesterday, were right-handed pitcher Carlos Chavez, who pitched in Frederick for most of last season, and outfielder Danny Clyburn, acquired from Cincinnati in a deal for Brad Pennington last spring.

Former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson was in uniform yesterday during the pre-game workout. He's going to throw batting practice. . . . The hamstring injury that bothered Mike Devereaux this spring still is hampering him a little. He was slow getting down the line on an infield single, so as not to exacerbate the problem.

Pub Date: 3/31/96

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