Dobson recalls 1st Murray HR O's pitching coach gave up the shot as a member of Indians

Orioles Notebook

August 22, 1996|By Jason LaCanfora | Jason LaCanfora,SUN STAFF

Pat Dobson didn't realize it at the time, but on April 18, 1977, he became the answer to a trivia question.

Dobson, then a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, served up the first home run of Eddie Murray's career that night. Murray has just two homers to go until he becomes the 15th member of the 500 home run club.

Dobson, now the Orioles' pitching coach, remembers the at-bat vividly.

"It was a 3-1 count, I threw a fastball away and he hit it to left-center field for a home run," Dobson said. "He hit it good. He went the other way with it. I didn't know who he was, so I figured I'd just throw something away and make him hit it to center field. But he is so strong he hit it over the fence."

Dobson recently received a computer printout of all the home runs he ever gave up. Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski got him the most, seven times, but Dobson said he's not sure why he remembers Murray's homer and not some of the others.

"I gave them up to some quality guys, but there are some 'unquality' guys in there, too," Dobson said. "I really don't know why I remember Eddie's. I didn't know it was his first homer or anything like that. But I remember it like it was yesterday. I can remember the pitch, the count, everything. Some you remember for some unknown reason."

Murray recalled the homer, too.

"I remember it went to left-center," he said.

McDowell recuperating

Orioles reliever Roger McDowell, who will be out for the rest of the year after having shoulder surgery Monday, is recuperating at his home in California.

When McDowell went in for surgery, he was worried that the damage was severe and he would have to get a pin placed in his shoulder. But he found out it was just basic wear and tear. The doctors cleaned it up and McDowell said he thinks he'll be ready to pitch next spring and could start throwing in two or three months.

"Everything went terrific from what the doctor indicated," McDowell said. "He lubed it, oiled it, filtered it. I opted for the new car scent instead of apple cinnamon."

The Orioles have repeater rights on McDowell and will have until one week after the World Series to offer him arbitration.

If they don't, McDowell will become a free agent and the Orioles still can negotiate with him. McDowell said he would like to return.

"I'd absolutely love to," he said. "They've been terrific to me. . . . It's their call, basically."

Bowers enjoying chance

Brent Bowers never imagined he'd see the major leagues this year.

Bowers, 25, and his parents always talked about the day when he finally would get the call, and dreamed about what it would be like. Bowers signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles in the winter and began the year at Double-A.

His big break came last weekend, and now he's playing the outfield at Camden Yards. After eight years in the minors, Bowers has arrived.

"I got the call that I was coming to Baltimore at 3 in the morning and it didn't sink in until I was on the plane to California [to join the team in Oakland]," Bowers said. "I never even thought about the majors when I signed. I just wanted to play hard at Double-A and maybe open some eyes at Rochester."

Bowers started four of the first five games since his promotion, when Jeffrey Hammonds went on the disabled list. Bowers is 4-for-17 (.235) with three RBIs for the Orioles.

"My mom and dad flew in for the series," Bowers said. "Some friends came down. They're as excited as I am. Everybody has been waiting for this for so long."

Considering the call-ups

When rosters expand Sept. 1, Orioles manager Davey Johnson said he would like to promote about five players.

"I don't like a whole lot of call-ups," Johnson said. "But I would anticipate in the neighborhood of five call-ups. Five or six."

One of the possible candidates is Tony Tarasco. The outfielder's season appeared to be over in June when he had shoulder surgery, but he has been rehabilitating in Sarasota, Fla., and is scheduled to play in a rookie-level game today.

The Orioles acquired Tarasco from the Montreal Expos in spring training. He began the season in the majors, but quickly was sent down to Triple-A Rochester.

"He'd be a possible call-up, but you never can tell," Johnson said. "He had a pretty major operation to his shoulder. It just depends on how he can throw. I know he's worked real hard and I know he's conditioned in great shape."

Rochester pitcher Calvin Maduro is also a candidate. Maduro is 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA after suffering his worst loss at Triple-A Tuesday night, giving up eight hits and seven earned runs in three innings.

Catcher Gregg Zaun, the Orioles' backup for much of the year, is hitting .333 (14-for-42) with Rochester, leading off occasionally, and is a virtual lock for a September call-up.

Smith rehabs in Bowie

Outfielder Mark Smith, on the DL for a month after fouling a ball off his leg, has been rehabbing in Bowie but was not in the lineup for the Baysox's game last night.

"He was going to try to play [last night]," Johnson said. "I know he wanted to play."

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