Kamieniecki gets seat, Otanez gets chance Pitcher put back on DL

Orioles Notebook

converted outfielder offers O's a right-handed bat

August 23, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Bill Free contributed to this article.

The Orioles placed pitcher Scott Kamieniecki on the disabled list after yesterday's 6-3 win over Cleveland. To fill his spot on the roster and provide manager Ray Miller with another right-handed-hitting outfielder, the club purchased the contract of Willis Otanez from Triple-A Rochester.

Kamieniecki tried again on Friday to pitch through a bulging disk in his neck that likely will require surgery this off-season. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings, throwing 87 pitches and reducing the game's pace to a crawl.

"Maybe with more rest or whatever, he could be better, but I just don't think he's able to throw the ball where he wants to," said Miller, who won't need a fifth starter until Saturday and is considering a four-man rotation. "He admitted to me it's still there. It obviously bothers him on the curveball. The pitches that came up were his curveball. And it bothers him a little on the fastball. He can still pitch with it, but he's unable to put extra on it when he wants and get the curveball over. Hopefully, that thing will quiet down and he can give us something."

Kamieniecki is eligible to return Sept. 6 after rosters are expanded. Signed to a two-year contract during the off-season, he is headed to the DL for a third time this season. He also was sidelined from April 25 to May 12 with a strained left groin and inflamed right elbow, and again May 23 to July 25 with disk-related stiffness in his neck.

Kamieniecki (2-6, 6.75 ERA) won't comment on his health, but said, "My performance speaks for itself. I'm obviously not helping the team at all. It's a move that is in the best interest of the team and I'm not going to stand in its way."

Asked how he felt during Friday's start, he said, "It wasn't what I'm normally used to doing."

Otanez gets a shot

This will be the first call-up for Otanez, 25, who was batting .285 with 24 doubles, 27 homers and 100 RBIs at Rochester. Normally a corner infielder, he was moved to right field last week in preparation for yesterday's move, which leaves the Orioles with 11 pitchers until Sept. 1, when rosters can expand from 25 to 40.

Miller has been pushing for another right-handed-hitting outfielder since losing Jeffrey Hammonds in a trade to Cincinnati. The need became more urgent when Miller discovered the Orioles would see six left-handers in seven games, beginning Tuesday in Chicago. Otanez also provides another option for Miller until the club can determine Brady Anderson's status.

"I can't see playing Eric Davis eight straight days in the outfield," Miller said.

An MRI on Anderson's right knee Thursday night revealed a slight tear in his patella tendon, and club officials believe they must determine his status by Tuesday. Anderson, who suffered the injury leaping at the fence for Bubba Trammell's double, will attempt to hit tomorrow and run hard on Tuesday.

"He's doing some rehab on it, but I think it's going to be a while before he's 100 percent," Miller said. "Brady's tough to read on things like this because he has such strong recup powers. In fact, half this team is that way."

Club officials continue to explore possible trades for another pitcher or hitter.

Miller has started a different center fielder in the two games since Anderson was hurt. He used Davis there Friday, but switched to Rich Becker yesterday.

Miller is concerned that Davis, who has been bothered by a sore hamstring and tender elbow, won't be able to hold up physically to the demands of playing in center.

"I think it'll take too much out of him," Miller said.

Miller has received favorable reports on Becker's ability in center. Though Becker hadn't started there until yesterday, he mostly played center while with Minnesota. He got late jumps on a few balls yesterday but caught up to them.

"It's no big deal," he said of going to center. "It was only a big deal when I moved to left."

Willie Greene hasn't played center, so Miller would prefer not using him there. "That's a lot to ask," he said. B. J. Surhoff's name has been mentioned, though his starts have all come in left.

"I could put B. J. there and he'd probably be as good as anybody," Miller said.

Double-A return for Drabek

When Doug Drabek makes his rehab start at Bowie on Tuesday, it will be his first game at the Double-A level since pitching for Albany (N.Y.) in 1985. That year, he led the Eastern League in strikeouts (153) and innings pitched (192 2/3 ) and ranked second in wins (13).

"It's going to be a little strange after being away for so long," he said.

Now 36, Drabek doesn't plan on sticking around the minors beyond this one start. He hopes to rejoin the Orioles with his mechanics sound and minus the strained left hamstring that has kept him on the disabled list since Aug. 1.

"I'll try to work on some things we've been working on with my delivery and throw all my pitches," he said.

Miller is counting on Drabek to give his club a "shot in the arm," either from the bullpen or in the rotation replacing Kamieniecki.

Around the horn

Former Orioles and Indians general manager Hank Peters attended yesterday's game. Peters has been retired seven years and still makes his home in Baltimore. Sandy Alomar went 0-for-3 against Scott Erickson and is 4-for-29 (.138) lifetime against him.

Pub Date: 8/23/98

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