Lifted Erickson is piece of work Pitcher refuses to take the hook sitting down

Orioles notebook

March 19, 1997|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Right-hander Scott Erickson wanted to do more throwing yesterday -- if not on the mound, then at least on the side. "But they wouldn't let me," he said with a shrug.

"I guess they want to keep everybody fresh."

With his pitch count up to 90, Erickson was pulled after four innings of the Orioles' 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He allowed three runs and eight hits, then spent the next couple of hours in the weight room.

Erickson was coming off his best outing of the spring, throwing five shutout innings last Thursday against the Florida Marlins. But he landed in immediate trouble yesterday, giving up three hits and walking a batter in the first inning, when the Dodgers scored twice. All three outs were on line drives, including a

diving grab by shortstop Mike Bordick.

He gave up another run in the fourth, but that was more a product of bad luck. With one out, Juan Castro grounded into what looked like an inning-ending double play, but Bordick was moving toward second with Chip Hale running on the pitch, and the ball rolled through the vacated area into left field. Chad Fonville singled to left-center, and the Dodgers led 3-1.

"I had a good fastball today and a pretty decent slider," said Erickson, who is 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA. "Results do not matter one bit in spring training. You don't want to give up 10 runs every time, but

"Two of the hits landed on the grass in the outfield and the rest were ground balls. I can't direct the ground balls."

"I thought he threw the ball well," said catcher Lenny Webster. "He had good velocity and he threw his pitches for strikes."

The Orioles scored twice in the eighth to wipe out a 4-2 deficit. Kelly Gruber singled in a run, and Brady Anderson brought in another with a bouncer to second. But catcher B. J. Waszgis was charged with a passed ball with two outs in the 10th, allowing the go-ahead run to score off Armando Benitez.

Gruber, who also walked, has knocked in at least one run in the past three games.

Down moves up

Manager Davey Johnson has left the Orioles for a couple of days on personal business. The Orioles are off today, and he'll rejoin the team tomorrow in West Palm Beach.

Hitting coach Rick Down served as the acting manager.

"You get more involved," said Down, who was a finalist for the managerial job in Anaheim. "As the hitting coach, I watch the hitters. I bear down during the game, but I guess you have to do it a little more [as manager]. You have to think about all the situations, maybe a pitching move, maybe the hit-and-run, those kinds of things."

Davis for the defense

Right fielder Eric Davis came up with another defensive gem in the sixth inning, racing into the gap and making a diving catch of a deep drive by Wilton Guerrero with two outs and runners on second and third. He snared the ball just before it hit the grass, then tipped his hat to the crowd and smiled as he trotted to the dugout amid chants of "Eric, Eric." The Orioles dugout emptied as players came out to greet him.

Davis said it was his best catch of the spring. He has had plenty to choose from.

Around the horn

Cal Ripken and B. J. Surhoff each had two hits. Surhoff delivered the Orioles' second run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Outfielder Tony Tarasco, who has been hobbled by a sore right quadriceps muscle, wasn't allowed to run or hit yesterday and remains day-to-day. Second baseman Roberto Alomar (sprained ankle) took batting practice in the indoor cage and could play before the weekend. The Orioles signed outfielder Scott Bullett, the brother of former Maryland basketball standout Vicky Bullett, to a minor-league contract Saturday. He's at the minor-league camp in Sarasota and is expected to start the year at Triple-A Rochester. Home Team Sports will broadcast the Orioles' game against the Florida Marlins Tuesday in place of Friday's game in West Palm Beach that was rained out.

Spring break

What the Orioles did yesterday: Gave up an unearned run in the 10th inning and lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-4. The Dodgers pounded 16 hits, including eight off right-hander Scott Erickson. The Orioles have lost five of their past seven games after winning six in a row.

What the Orioles will do today: Not much related to baseball. This is the Orioles' only day off of the spring, and they'll be scattered. Pitcher Jimmy Key, for one, was looking forward to going fishing.

You know it's spring training when: The starting pitcher works four innings, then puts in another five in the weight room. Erickson pumped iron and did some stretching after being removed with the Orioles behind, 3-1. He didn't hit the showers until the game had gone into extra innings.

Pub Date: 3/19/97

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