What a relief: Haynes picks up first win Rookie's 5 1/3 -inning outing longest and best of year

Sidelight

April 30, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

The Orioles no longer lose every time Jimmy Haynes pitches.

Haynes (1-3) vindicated himself after losing his first three starts, leaving the field yesterday after 5 1/3 pretty solid innings with a standing ovation and a victory.

"It's been real tough," Haynes said. "I'm glad the fans are still there with me, and I hope they'll continue to be there."

Haynes pitched his longest outing of the season during the Orioles' 8-7 victory yesterday over the Texas Rangers.

He allowed two earned runs, three hits and six walks. He also struck out six.

"He early on struggled, but threw the ball like I'm sure he did last year," Orioles manager Davey Johnson said. "He pitched great, just what we needed."

Just what Haynes needed. He entered the game with a 12.08 ERA (it's down to 9.50) after losing once to Texas and twice to Minnesota.

His three starts were a far cry from his performance after getting called up from Rochester late last season -- he was 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance.

But the right-hander struggled with his mechanics during spring training and didn't get them straightened out when the season started.

After giving up seven runs April 20 in Texas, Haynes was relegated to the bullpen to work on his delivery.

One problem Haynes had was turning his back to the plate and failing to lift up his front leg. But the bigger mechanical adjustment was the position of Haynes' throwing arm.

"He has a tendency to throw too much over the top, and it causes him to flatten out," Johnson said. "He wasn't doing that tonight."

In two bullpen throwing sessions, Haynes worked with pitching coach Pat Dobson on dropping his arm.

It paid dividends last night. His fastball was faster and had more movement, and his curveballs broke sharper. He even threw a few changeups when he was behind in the count.

"When I was getting into jams earlier, my mechanics were all off," Haynes said. "Tonight my mechanics were good enough that I could make the pitches I needed to get out of those games."

Haynes gave up a run-scoring double to Dave Valle in the third inning, but got Darryl Hamilton to ground out to short to get out of further trouble. He also gave up two runs in the fifth on Rusty Greer's triple and Mark McLemore's sacrifice fly.

But, at times, he was overpowering. He struck out Will Clark in the fourth looking at a curve and struck out three straight batters in the seventh and eighth innings.

His final victim, Ivan Rodriguez, fanned on a 90-mph fastball.

"He was still throwing the ball pretty good in the eighth inning," Dobson said.

It is unclear whether Haynes will stay in the bullpen or return to the starting rotation. "We need [Kent] Mercker," Johnson said of his other struggling starter.

Haynes doesn't care what his role is if he's winning games.

"As long as I can get in there and contribute, it really doesn't matter if I'm a starter or a reliever," Haynes said. "I'll do whatever it takes."

Pub Date: 4/30/96

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