Mathews getting closer to pitching in again Reliever to throw today

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

ailing wrist is improving

May 20, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK -- Orioles reliever Terry Mathews is scheduled to throw from the bullpen today for the second time since going on the disabled list May 2 with an inflamed right wrist.

He expects to repeat the 12-minute session he had Monday at Camden Yards, throwing only fastballs and not cutting loose.

"I only went about 50 percent, maybe a little more," he said. "What I liked about it was I could actually tell a difference in how I could finish the pitches. That was big for me."

Mathews said he doesn't feel any pain in the wrist, but must build up the strength in his shoulder. He hasn't pitched since April 29 in Chicago, yielding a grand slam to Wil Cordero.

If he doesn't experience a setback today, Mathews will increase the intensity of his session the next time, throwing longer and mixing in other pitches.

Still perfect

Former Oriole David Wells was presented a key to New York City yesterday on the steps of City Hall by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in honor of his perfect game at Yankee Stadium Sunday against the Minnesota Twins.

Wells also managed to squeeze in a phone call to Howard Stern's nationally syndicated morning radio program, followed by an appearance on television's "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee." He already had done David Letterman's show the previous day, tugged in every direction since becoming only the 15th pitcher in baseball history to throw a perfect game.

"This has changed my personal life for the last 48 hours, but today's a new day and it's about playing baseball, not what happened on Sunday," said Wells, who gave his cap and a game ball to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., but saved his jersey to pass down to his son.

Wells has retired 37 straight batters, including the last 10 in his previous start in Kansas City, eclipsing the American League record of 33 held by the Royals' Steve Busby in 1974 and Seattle's John Montague in 1977. He's four short of the major-league record held by San Francisco's Jim Barr in 1972.

His next start comes Saturday in Boston, one of the worst places for Wells to take another stab at making history.

He's 4-9 with a 5.99 ERA lifetime at Fenway Park, allowing 18 homers in 85 2/3 innings.

"I'm up to the challenge," he said. "It's something I've got to try to overcome, that obstacle. I'll go out and give it 100 percent like I always do. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of heat, a lot of people who are going to be very negative."

Asked if he's capable of pitching another perfect game or no-hitter, Wells said, "Honestly, I don't think I could ever do it again. It's very nerve-wracking, very emotional. There's a lot of luck involved. That's what happened on Sunday. The gods were with us."

Wells said he spoke on the phone with former Yankee Don Larsen, who pitched the only perfect game in postseason history, in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. They're also linked in another way, having attended the same high school, Point Loma, in San Diego. "That's the most surprising phone call I got. It was a wonderful conversation," Wells said.

Here's to you

Unable to find a cigar store near the team hotel, Orioles manager Ray Miller arrived at Yankee Stadium looking for a stogie. He didn't have far to go.

In his office were three cigars, left there by New York manager Joe Torre.

"He's happy to see me, I guess," Miller said between puffs.

Out of control

Miller continues to remind anyone within earshot of his patience and respect toward every player in the Orioles' clubhouse. But he can't accept his pitchers continually falling behind hitters. It's an irritant for Miller akin to raking nails across a chalkboard.

"The only thing that's very tough to put up with is the walks. I can help you out with a lot of things, but I can't help you if you don't throw the ball over the plate," Miller said.

"If you look at the club we just played [Tampa Bay], one glaring difference for me was foot speed. The other thing was the fresh young kids they're bringing in are throwing 94, 95 mph, like our guys are doing, but they're throwing strike one. I was very proud that in all of 1997, we threw strike one all year. That's the name of the game."

Miller knows the pitching staff could get away with doing less if the offense was scoring more.

"Success kind of breeds confidence," he said. "When you go out and throw a few runs up early and then add to it here and there, you take a little bit of pressure off. Right now everybody's coming up squeezing the heck out of the ball. I understand it."

Around the horn

Ripken was hitless in three at-bats against David Cone, leaving him 3-for-28 lifetime vs. the right-hander. Ripken is in a 2-for-26 slump overall. Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Catcher Chris Hoiles committed his first error in 117 games, dating to Sept. 11, 1996.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.