Haynes off to Triple-A after win Right-hander to work on confidence, composure

Orioles notebook

March 13, 1997|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Buster Olney contributed to this article.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Right-hander Jimmy Haynes made his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies and earned the victory. Less than 24 hours later, he became a spring casuality.

Haynes, whose only chance to make the club was as the fifth starter, was optioned to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings yesterday, reducing the number of players in camp to 40, including 19 pitchers. He will report to the minor-league camp in Sarasota.

"I had a pretty good idea that I was going to have to go out here and show them something really, really special to make the team because we've got so many guys competing for that fifth spot. I knew I had a halfway shot, but not a great one," said Haynes, who allowed four hits and a run Tuesday night. He had pitched seven innings in B games this spring, giving up nine hits and two earned runs.

"It'll be good to go down there and start off well and get everything going good. I'm going down there to work on what I have now, get my pitches over on any count, throw all my pitches for strikes. And mainly the mental thing. Try to keep my cool and go out and pitch."

Haynes, 24, had his best outing of the spring in last Thursday's B game against the Montreal Expos. He threw three shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out four.

"He had a smile on his face for the first time during that game," said pitching coach Ray Miller. "He had great stuff and felt good about himself. Now, it's very critical for Jimmy to keep it simple and go out and have two, four, six good starts and allow his stuff to work for him, like he did when he first got here. If that happens, his confidence will go right through the roof."

Haynes began last season as the fifth starter, but pitched himself out of the rotation. He was optioned to Rochester on July 31 and to the Double-A Bowie Baysox on Aug. 30. Eventually, with his confidence shattered, he was sent home.

"I'm trying not to let anything get to me, trying not to get frustrated," he said. "I'm a lot better than I was last year. I think I'm getting better each time out. I didn't have my best stuff [Tuesday] but I kept my cool and my composure and threw some good changeups when I was behind in the count. They got a few hits off me, but you've got to live with that. Last year, I'd get all upset and say, 'I've got to change something here because they got a base hit.' "

Said Miller: "I think it's critical to get Jimmy out of here right now. Not that he couldn't go out and possibly dominate, but if he had one really bad outing where they were pounding him bad, it would be very bad for him. But if he goes somewhere with the level of competition where, with his stuff, he should dominate, I think he's better off."

Haynes has credited Miller many times with helping him by not trying to change his mechanics. Last year, Haynes said "they tried to mess with me every day and tell me different stuff and it kind of got to me. I didn't want to sit there and say, 'I don't want to do this, so I would sit and listen and try. But going out and doing that every day just got me all screwed up, mentally and mechanically. [Miller] took a load off my shoulders."

Said Miller: "Everybody's messed with his mechanics so much that I'm not even sure he knows what his good mechanics are. What I tried to do is erase the chalkboard, so to speak. [After the B game] I told him, I guarantee you don't know how or why you threw as good as you did. You just did. You did it naturally. Stay nice and calm and believe in your stuff."

Key is sharp

Jimmy Key became the latest Orioles starter to dazzle, giving up three hits and an unearned run in four innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Montreal Expos. He walked one and struck out two.

Before yesterday, Orioles starters were 6-0 with a 1.55 ERA over the last 11 games.

An RBI single by Chris Hoiles in the eighth inning tied the score at 3, but Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero led off the 10th with a home run off right-hander Giovanni Carrara.

The Orioles committed four errors. "It was a dog day, kind of sleepy," said manager Davey Johnson.

Rule 5 draftee Mike Johnson gave up his second earned run this spring, along with four hits and a walk in two innings.

Davis returns

Eric Davis started in right field yesterday after being a late scratch Tuesday night because of some tightness in his back.

"I could have played [Tuesday], it was no big deal," he said. "I didn't want to steal Tony Tarasco's thunder."

Tarasco played all three outfield positions against the Phillies and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base.

Gruber ready, waiting

Infielder Kelly Gruber, who has been out since straining his right hamstring in the first inning of last Thursday's B game, said he's ready to play. But Johnson is taking a more cautious approach, choosing to wait a few more days.

"He said, 'Don't get out there too early,' " Gruber said. "If I pull it, then I'm not talking a week. Then, I'm talking a month. He said it's better to be safe.

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