Red Wings' McClain hot at No. 2 Catcher Zaun leads off, DH Owens bats ninth in Foley's unusual lineup

Minor-League notebook

August 21, 1996|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Being No. 2 is suiting Scott McClain just fine.

Shifted to the second spot in the Rochester batting order, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound third baseman responded with his hottest streak of the year, hitting in 13 straight games and batting .410 over 14.

"I felt he needed a new challenge," said Red Wings manager Marv Foley, who has instituted an odd lineup that includes his catcher (Gregg Zaun) leading off and his designated hitter (Billy Owens) in the ninth spot.

McClain, smooth at third base despite his size, had hovered around .260 most of the season, but the surge brought him to .285. He leads the Red Wings with 15 home runs.

"I'm just taking a shorter swing and getting better pitches to hit because I'm ahead of Joe [Hall]," said McClain.

"Defense is his forte, top-notch," said Foley. "But he hasn't reached his power potential yet. He has time. He's only 24."

McClain was named the organization's top position player last year after hitting a system-high 21 homers at Rochester and Bowie, and he made the 40-man roster.

Frederick's chances to make the Carolina League playoffs dimmed last weekend when the Single-A Keys dropped three straight at Durham -- by a combined four runs.

The Keys blew leads in all three games and wound up losing 10-9, 10-8 and 6-5, giving the Bulls the season series, 16-4, despite their second-half personnel losses, including Andruw Jones.

That is Frederick's worst record in a season series since the franchise was born in 1989. The Keys have lost six games in a row and are 3 1/2 games behind Northern Division front-runner Wilmington with less than two weeks left in the season.

Otanez breaks HR mark

Bowie may be having a dreadful year on the field, but that hasn't stopped its home run records from falling.

Third baseman Willis Otanez eclipsed the team's individual record with his 22nd Sunday, one more than Stanton Cameron hit during the 1993 season at Memorial Stadium. Otanez hit his 23rd last night.

And the team has bettered its 1994 record with 102 homers.

The Baysox's second-half goal has been to avoid a 90-loss season. With 14 games to go, they have 81 defeats.

Ripken Sr.'s record may fall

Another record is within reach of Keys catcher Jim Foster, whose only error this summer was on June 7.

With a .999 fielding position, he can break the Carolina League record of .996 and can still afford to make one more error.

The record holder? None other than Cal Ripken Sr., who set it in 1958 while playing for Wilson, N.C.

Red Wings in stretch run

Rochester is within earshot of a playoff berth after winning five straight from Syracuse at home.

Going into the final weeks of the season, the Red Wings are one game ahead of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the battle for second place in the International League's East Division.

The regular-season runner-up would play Pawtucket, which is running away with first place.

Around the horn

Domingo Martinez dipped below .500 (.469) by going 0-for-4 Sunday but still is batting .469 with 27 RBIs in 12 Red Wings games. The Orioles assigned yet another Mexican League player, Drew Denson. He ranks third on the career minor-league home run list with 156. Martinez is first at 160. . . . Jim Wawruck is through for the year with a stress fracture in his back. . . . Rochester drew 59,119 for six games at soon-to-be defunct Silver Stadium. The final game is sold out Aug. 30. . . . The Baysox set a single-game attendance record Saturday with 14,008 for fireworks. . . . Tom Wegmann, recuperating from shoulder surgery in Florida, has replaced Nerio Rodriguez in the Keys' rotation.

Pub Date: 8/21/96

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