Hammonds' bat awakens at Rochester Demoted Oriole heats up after slow start for Wings

Sidelight

July 19, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds said last night he expected to be traded to another organization before the All-Star break, "but it didn't happen, so here I am trying to do the best I can."

Demoted to Triple-A Rochester a month ago after batting .237 in 56 Orioles games, Hammonds is suddenly warming up at the plate after batting .146 during his first 11 Red Wings games.

"There wasn't any shock effect," said Hammonds. "My game just wasn't where it should have been and I took some time to get into the swing of things."

The No. 1 draft choice in 1993 said he "wasn't trying to make anything happen" when he first joined Rochester. "I was defensive on offense and defense."

Now, things have changed. In a doubleheader Tuesday night, he went 3-for-4 with three walks and a stolen base. He entered last night 7-for-15 on a six-game road trip and had reached bases in eight of nine plate appearances.

Manager Marv Foley moved Hammonds, who was hitting second, to the third spot in the batting order last night. Hammonds is now playing center field after starting in right earlier.

"Jeffrey came down here with a terrific attitude," said Foley. "I had never seen him play much, but he knew he had some holes in his swing he needed to correct. He has been very diligent about it.

"Early on, he hit a lot of balls hard, but right at people. He's going to be fine."

Hammonds said "I basically have no feelings" about the trade rumors, because "it's not my call. It wouldn't surprise me either way -- to be traded or to be called back up.

"All I can do is keep it simple, not try to analyze too much and get myself together."

Pub Date: 7/19/96

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