McDowell out, O's step up bid for relief veteran Gillick says he's targeted several who are available

Orioles Notebook

August 19, 1996|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Help could be on the way for the Orioles bullpen, which was left short again by the severe shoulder injury that put right-hander Roger McDowell on the 60-day disabled list.

General manager Pat Gillick said yesterday that the club has targeted several available veterans as possible replacements for McDowell, though getting a deal done is more difficult now that the Orioles are back in contention.

Clubs tend to ask for more in return when they are dealing with a team that needs help for the stretch drive, and the Orioles do not have a surplus of good young prospects to trade.

"We're trying to get an experienced pitcher to get right-handed hitters out," Gillick said. "Jesse [Orosco] and Randy [Myers] have done fine, but with Roger down and Alan [Mills] coming back from surgery, we're pretty limited."

Gillick did not name any of the possible candidates, but he said three or four decent relievers had cleared waivers and were available in trade. The problem is working out a suitable exchange.

"If it was going to be easy to pick up someone," manager Davey Johnson said, "we would have, because this has been an Achilles' heel for us all year."

The Orioles hope that right-hander Armando Benitez is ready to return soon. He threw well in his third rehab appearance Saturday in Bowie, but he also lacks experience. The club would love to find someone who has pitched in a pennant race before.

McDowell surgery today

Orthopedic specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform exploratory surgery on McDowell's injured right shoulder today at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, Calif. He likely will tighten the shoulder capsule and smooth frayed cartilage, which would mean a year of recovery and rehab time for the veteran pitcher.

Then it will be a question of whether McDowell wants to continue his career. He would be 36 before he is ready to pitch again.

He'll remain in California after the surgery and stay in his home in the Palm Springs area until the Orioles return to the West Coast on their next trip, then return to Baltimore with the club.

A man named Brady

Center fielder Brady Anderson drove in four runs to increase his career-high total to 86. He drove in a run with a groundout in the seventh inning and three more with a bases-loaded double in the ninth.

It wasn't a perfect day, however. Anderson committed a rare error on a long fly ball to center field by Scott Brosius in the sixth inning, only his third error in 110 games this year.

Mariners' pitching move

The Seattle Mariners will call up pitcher Matt Wagner from Triple-A Tacoma to start Tuesday's series opener against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Wagner was 3-3 with a 6.40 ERA in an earlier stint with the major-league club.

The transaction reflects the decision not to move pitching ace Randy Johnson back into the starting rotation yet. Johnson has been pitching out of the bullpen, and asked manager Lou Piniella to keep him there until he is ready to be a nine-inning pitcher. Piniella originally wanted Johnson to start tonight in New York or tomorrow night against the Orioles.

Sterling Hitchcock and Jamie Moyer also will face the Orioles.

Making pitch for Seay

The Orioles informed the commissioner's office of their intention to negotiate with Chicago White Sox first-round draft choice Bobby Seay, who was declared a free agent after the White Sox renounced their right to negotiate with him.

The former Sarasota (Fla.) High standout can negotiate with any team that registered its interest through the commissioner's office. Gillick said that the odds were against the Orioles making a serious bid.

"We have thrown our name out there," he said, "but the possibility of this organization pursuing it to the end is doubtful."

Going, going . . .

Oakland catcher Terry Steinbach hit his 30th home run of the year in a four-run first inning to become the third A's player to reach 30 this year. He joins major-league home run leader Mark McGwire, who has 43, and red-hot Geronimo Berroa, who has 34.

It is the 27th time in major-league history that a team has had three or more 30-homer guys.

The Orioles have a chance to have eight players finish the season with 20 or more, but would need someone to hit at least nine more to join Rafael Palmeiro (30) and Anderson (37).

. . . gone

The A's, despite starting the season in Las Vegas, have hit 90 home runs at the Coliseum, surpassing the record of 88 set in 1987. The A's had 10 additional "home" homers in Vegas. . . . McGwire on being 18 shy of Roger Maris' record of 61 homers with 35 games to play: "I'm not close to anything yet. It's a long way away. I don't know why people are making a big deal about it."

Hits and misses

On the field: Left-hander David Wells gave up seven runs on eight hits in just one-plus innings before giving way to reliever Esteban Yan. Wells came into the game with a three-game win streak, but he had failed to get a decision in his previous two starts. The A's outburst raised his ERA to 4.96.

In the dugout: Manager Davey Johnson waited as long as he could. He needed some innings from Wells, but finally went to the bullpen after Scott Brosius hit a three-run homer to break open the game in the second. Yan immediately gave up Mark McGwire's 43rd home run.

In the clubhouse: Johnson upon hearing that Jeffrey Hammonds said he hoped he would not be out the full four weeks that have been prescribed to rehab his sprained left knee: "I'm not a doctor, but when you're talking about a sprain where the ligaments in the knee have been weakened, you don't want to take a chance rushing a player back."

Pub Date: 8/19/96

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