In the end, Kamieniecki is satisfied Orioles also pleased with 4 2/3 -inning effort

April 04, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Scott Kamieniecki's first start as an Oriole didn't go exactly as he had hoped, but he felt good about it.

And why not? He was back on the mound, with a healthy right arm and a large, vocal crowd cheering his every success.

This was Kamieniecki's first major-league appearance since May 24, at the Kingdome in Seattle, when he was just two days away from boarding the New York Yankees' shuttle back to Triple-A.

Signed by the Orioles as a free agent in January, Kamieniecki was supposed to begin the season in long relief -- until the Orioles came up short on starters. Ace Mike Mussina had a sore elbow, Rocky Coppinger went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and Kamieniecki was pressed into duty.

He didn't get the decision in the Orioles' 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals, but he deserved at least some of the credit. He was removed with two outs in the fifth inning after shortstop Jay Bell hit a hanging slider into the seats in left for a two-run homer and a 4-2 Royals lead.

Kamieniecki had gotten ahead in the count 0-2 but couldn't finish Bell. It was one of the few mistakes he made, and it wasn't as bad as it looked.

"It wasn't my best one, but it wasn't my worst one," he said. "It was a little bit away, but these are major-league hitters and they're going to get you sometimes. He got me."

Kamieniecki, who has undergone surgery twice on his right elbow in the past two years, didn't look as though he'd get out of the first inning. He issued all three of his walks and allowed a run-scoring single to Bell before retiring Jermaine Dye on a liner to third.

"I had some trouble getting out of the gate, but that's nothing new for me," said Kamieniecki, who retired the Royals in order in the second and fourth innings.

Pitching coach Ray Miller came out early to talk to Kamieniecki, after Jeff King blasted a long fly ball to left that barely hooked foul.

"They're a fast-running team and I thought he was a little too quick to the plate," Miller said. "He was getting the ball up too much."

"I was just too strong. I was jumping a little bit," said Kamieniecki, who allowed five hits and struck out two.

Who could blame him for being excited after going through all the injuries, rehabilitations and doubts? He started last season at Single-A Tampa after having bone chips removed from his elbow, and appeared in only seven games with the Yankees.

Camden Yards never looked so good.

"I'm sure he was a bit nervous in the beginning," said catcher Chris Hoiles. "In the first inning, he was a little erratic, but he settled down and pitched a great game for us."

"It's been a long wait," Miller said. "He wasn't going to be a starter, then all of a sudden he is and you've got three days to sit and think about it. It will all calm down. He's a good major-league pitcher. I like his pitch selection. He's got a great sinker and changeup, and with our infield, that will be a big asset for us."

It's uncertain when Kamieniecki's next start will be. But with a 2.76 ERA in 16 1/3 spring innings and with the promise he showed last night, the club is anxious to get another look.

"I'm not that far off," he said.

Pub Date: 4/04/97

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