Team's first cuts 'nothing extraordinary' Eight are demoted

Orioles Notebook

Surhoff will sit out at least few more days

March 06, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Orioles made their first cuts of the spring yesterday, announcing the moves after an 11-7 win over the New York Mets. None of them sent shock waves through camp.

Or, as manager Ray Miller put it, "Nothing extraordinary."

Three pitchers were assigned to the club's minor-league camp in Sarasota: right-handers Kevin Gallaher and Francisco Saneaux and left-hander John Parrish. They'll be joined by the club's two first-round draft picks last season, outfielder Darnell McDonald and catcher Jayson Werth, infielder David Lamb and catcher Chip Alley. Outfielder Eugene Kingsale was optioned to Double-A Bowie.

McDonald appeared in one full-squad game, stealing a base and scoring a run. He also went 3-for-3 with an RBI in Wednesday's B game against Mexico City.

Lamb, Alley and Kingsale each got into two full-squad games, and Werth appeared in one. None of them had an at-bat, though Kingsale scored a run yesterday.

Saneaux was credited with the win against Mexico City, pitching a scoreless inning and striking out one. Parrish, brought here because of injuries, also didn't allow a run in one inning against the Reds. Gallaher appeared in one game, giving up two runs in one-third of an inning.

"The two young catchers, I liked a lot," said Miller. "I told every guy I sent out, if you put up numbers [during the season], when you come to this camp you're going to play. I challenged every one of them to go out and put up the numbers."

The cuts left the Orioles with 51 players in camp.

Eager to return

Though B. J. Surhoff isn't a player who obsesses with getting a certain number of at-bats in spring training, it's obvious to the club that he's itching to return from a ligament injury in the ring finger of his right hand.

Surhoff told trainer Richie Bancells yesterday that the bat felt good in his hands. "We told him he's not even supposed to have a bat in his hands," Miller said. "We're going to give it a little longer, a few more days."

The injury won't heal for about three weeks, but Miller joked that Surhoff is on a different timetable.

"For a guy like B.J., that's probably four or five days," he said. "It's one of those things that, if it was the postseason, you'd wrap it up, spit on it and let him play." Mike Mussina's second start of the spring didn't go as smoothly as the first, when he pitched two scoreless innings to open the exhibition schedule. Yesterday, he gave up two runs in the first inning, allowing singles to Tim Spehr, Edgar Alfonzo and Bernard Gilkey and an RBI-grounder by Butch Huskey.

But this time of the year, it hardly matters. Mussina said his arm felt good as he continues to work on "everything" to get ready for Opening Day.

Alfonzo's hit was a blooper that barely fell inside the right-field line. Huskey's ball would have been a double play if Alfonzo wasn't running on the pitch.

"I felt strong. I was done after three innings but I could have still pitched. But there's no sense forcing the issue," said Mussina, who retired seven of the last eight batters he faced in his three-inning stint, the lone hit a double by Spehr.

"I wish my location was a little better, but I'm sure it will be eventually."

Mussina, who issued one walk in his two appearances, threw 29 pitches in his first outing and 48 yesterday, "so we'll extend him for sure next time," Miller said.

"Moose was up with the ball, but I like his progression."

Webster starts anew

Catcher Lenny Webster made his first start this spring, playing the first four innings before being replaced by Melvin Rosario.

Webster, brought along slowly because of off-season surgery on his left shoulder, got his first at-bat as a pinch hitter in Tuesday's game against Minnesota. He also batted twice in Wednesday's B game against Mexico City, but hadn't caught until yesterday.

Webster made solid contact in both at-bats, flying to deep left in the second inning and lifting a sacrifice fly to center in the fourth that reduced the Mets' lead to 4-2.

"It's really not 100 percent, but I feel comfortable enough to swing the bat," he said. "The test will be when I take a swing really hard and miss, and see how it responds to that. But overall, it feels good right now, probably 90 percent healthy."

Webster said he didn't have any problems catching. He had to reach up for a couple of pitches and extend the arm to scoop an errant slider, each time without pain.

"I felt pretty comfortable and relaxed," he said. "I'm probably still a little bit ahead of what the physicians were saying. I came here and might have gone after it a little too hard too soon, but still I think I'm ahead of schedule.

"We're probably going to just take it slow from here. Ray told me however many at-bats I feel I need, or if I feel any discomfort, let PTC him know. It's just kind of a precautionary thing."

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