Haynes is relieved to be reliever Rookie starter feared Rochester demotion

Sidelight

April 24, 1996|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- Jimmy Haynes was called into the office of manager Davey Johnson yesterday afternoon, and naturally Haynes was a little anxious. The rookie was hit hard in his first three starts, the team wasn't playing well, and he knew the Orioles were considering demoting him to the minors.

In that light, then, Haynes was quite relieved when Johnson told him he was being dropped from the rotation for a while -- but not to the minors. Haynes will work out of the bullpen, as he attempts to completely restructure his pitching mechanics with coach Pat Dobson.

Arthur Rhodes will start in his place, against Kansas City tomorrow and the New York Yankees next Wednesday. Rhodes, who has been working in long relief, will be limited to about 60 to 80 pitches.

"Anything to keep me from going back to [Triple-A] Rochester," said Haynes. "I definitely need work on my delivery. Going to the bullpen will help. I can really work things out and try to get back to where I was.

"I pretty much [knew] I was pitching bad. But I would've been all right with it if I had [been demoted to the minors]. I planned on going back to Rochester and kicking butt."

The Orioles debated the move for three days before making their decision, ultimately predicated on what was best for Haynes' confidence. Dropping Haynes from the rotation was a given after he allowed seven runs in four innings last Saturday, but Johnson and his staff pondered whether sending Haynes back to the minors would help his frame of mind.

They decided that keeping Haynes in the big leagues would send him the message that they believed in him. "I did make the point to him that we talked about sending him [to Rochester] for a couple of starts," Johnson said. "He told me he had pitched out the bullpen before."

Dobson said: "You send guys down and you never know how they'll react."

Dobson took Haynes to an indoor cage before Monday's game to, in Dobson's words, "get back to square one" with his delivery. "I'm trying to get him to stop doing all that torque with his upper body, all that twisting. Just get back to basics.

"He did pretty well with it. He noticed his fastball had better life. If he can do what he did yesterday and throw more strikes, he'll be fine. . . . Probably the most important thing with him is getting his confidence back. He's definitely got the stuff, but it's hard to get your confidence back when you're always getting waxed."

Haynes' relief duties likely will be pitching in non-pressure situations, when the Orioles are either way ahead or way behind.

Pub Date: 4/24/96

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