Worked over, Orosco gets needed work

April 19, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

Jesse Orosco had a poor spring training, and he didn't pitch well yesterday, but manager Davey Johnson says Orioles fans shouldn't worry about the left-hander who was the team's most consistent relief pitcher last season.

Orosco just needs a little work.

"He's a little rusty," Johnson said.

Orosco got some work yesterday, but it wasn't pretty. He gave up four runs in two innings, including home runs by Mo Vaughn and Mike Stanley, allowing the Red Sox to stretch their lead from 6-4 to 10-5 en route to a 10-7 victory.

"It was no fun giving up four runs and spreading out their lead," Orosco said. "But it's good for me to get some work here and there."

Orosco entered the game with four appearances but had pitched only 1 2/3 innings. He said he had not been in a game long enough to get in a groove.

Johnson gave him that opportunity in the seventh inning.

"Jesse needed a little work," Johnson said. "We'd have preferred it was a little better quality."

Orosco struggled from the start -- Dwayne Hosey bunted for a single, stole second and scored on John Valentin's single.

Up stepped Vaughn, the American League's MVP last year, who entered the season 0-for-12 lifetime against Orosco.

On Wednesday night, Orosco walked Vaughn with the bases loaded in the seventh, allowing the Red Sox to tie the score at 4 during the Orioles' 6-5, 12-inning victory. The result yesterday was worse -- a two-run home run.

Orosco then struck out Jose Canseco, got Mike Greenwell to fly to center and Troy O'Leary to ground to first to end the inning.

Mike Stanley led off the eighth with a homer to center field, then Orosco retired the side with two strikeouts and a fly out.

"After the first three hitters, he settled down," Johnson said. "He had some bite on his breaking ball."

The four runs given up by Orosco broke a string of near perfection by the Orioles' bullpen -- in 34 2/3 innings before yesterday, the bullpen had given up only one earned run.

Orosco, who turns 39 on Sunday, has been around too long (he's third among active pitchers with 824 lifetime appearances) and is too laid-back (a lifelong Californian) to get worried about yesterday's outing.

"I thought I threw the ball pretty well," he said. "I made two bad pitches."

Orosco has experienced the ultimate thrill for a reliever -- he closed out the seventh game of the 1986 World Series for the New York Mets -- and he can't wait to get back there.

"I want to win," Orosco said. "Once I lose that attitude, I'll hang it up. I still have it. I want to win."

So does Johnson, Orosco's manager with the Mets in 1986.

Johnson still thinks Orosco can help his team win and he knows how to use him -- often. Orosco has made 50 or more appearances in 12 of his 14 major-league seasons.

"He thrives on a lot of work," Johnson said. "And with some off days and the rainouts, I haven't gotten him as much work as I'd like. But he'll be fine."

Pub Date: 4/19/96

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