Rhodes goes 2 innings, says he's ready to return Thrift says left-hander hit '92-94 mph' for Red Wings

August 16, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF LTC

RICHMOND, Va. -- Good news has accompanied the Orioles almost everywhere they've gone since the All-Star break and last night, they received some more from Virginia.

Left-hander Arthur Rhodes pronounced himself "ready" to return to the bullpen after throwing to live hitters for the first time since July 4.

In a two-inning International League stint for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings against the Richmond Braves at The Diamond, Rhodes threw 30 pitches and allowed three hits, including two bloop singles, and one run.

Moreover, he said he felt no ill effects from the strained tendon in his left elbow that has restricted him to the disabled list since July 13.

"I felt good and didn't have any problems," said Rhodes, one of the key Orioles relievers. "I kept the ball down and they blooped a couple in. You can't do anything about that."

Rhodes probably would have escaped without permitting a run but Rochester first baseman Bo Dodson unwisely cut off Lyle Mouton's throw to the plate on a two-out single that scored the Braves' run.

"I threw a couple of sliders and mostly fastballs," said Rhodes. "I wasn't going out there to try to strike everybody out, just to get my work in."

Director of player personnel Syd Thrift said: "I believe he was throwing 92 to 94 [miles per hour] and his breaking ball was good. I thought he threw well."

With Rocky Coppinger taking over after Rhodes' departure, the Red Wings went on to romp past the hapless Braves, 10-2.

Mark Wohlers, another rehabilitating pitcher and once the ace of the Atlanta bullpen, appeared in the game after Rochester had rolled to a 9-1 fifth-inning lead and continued to labor. He threw only seven of 19 pitches for strikes in two-thirds of an inning, walking three batters with two wild pitches.

In his first Triple-A outing since 1995, Rhodes said it "felt kind of weird starting the game. I haven't started a game in a long time [April 30, 1996]."

Rhodes said he doesn't expect to pitch in another minor-league game. He had not thrown in the minors since 1995 and in the interim, became a dependable member of the Orioles' bullpen.

"I'll just sit back and wait now until Tuesday," said Rhodes, 3-3 with a 3.30 ERA this year. "But I would expect them to take me off the disabled list."

His only strikeout came in the first inning when he fanned Damon Hollins with a fastball. Rhodes' walk -- to Gabe Whatley -- preceded that.

"I've been throwing on the side so it was a little strange to face hitters," he said. "But I felt good out there."

Pub Date: 8/16/98

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