Clyburn swings toward a shot Prospect: Power- hitting Danny Clyburn doesn't let injury shortcut keep him off O's path.

August 26, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The numbers when projected over a full season are even better than last year, when outfielder Danny Clyburn was an International League All-Star.

Still, Clyburn remains on the waiting list for the Orioles' outfield, locked in at Triple-A Rochester, where he has little more to prove on offense.

Other Red Wings outfielders have been summoned to Baltimore -- Jesus Tavarez and Lyle Mouton, for instance -- and Clyburn, a member of the 40-man Orioles roster, is hoping to follow.

"In this game, you don't know when they're going to call, so you just wait your time," said the native of Lancaster, S.C. "You can never get pumped up too much about it."

Clyburn has good memories of his brief appearances in Baltimore last season after he ravaged the International League playoffs (.378) while helping the Red Wings to the Governor's Cup title. He batted just three times for the Orioles, striking out twice, and watched a lot.

"I'm hoping to get back. That would be very good," he said. "When you first get there, the first reaction is 'Whew, I made it to the big leagues.' But after a while, you realize that in order to stay, you have to play."

This year, Clyburn encountered the dreaded bugaboo that can slow progress more than anything short of a droopy average -- injury.

He broke his left foot in a spring training game and missed nearly two months of the season.

"I still feel it [some pangs] in there," said Clyburn, who had 18 doubles, 11 home runs, 49 runs and 42 RBIs through 67 games. "But it got back strong enough to play with it. It's back to regular form. I like this kind of weather [hot] for it."

Red Wings manager Marv Foley said Clyburn has improved more on defense than anything else.

"I think it's better than last year simply because he's a year older and a little more comfortable out there," said Foley. "He's more consistent both on offense and defense."

Originally a second-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clyburn, 24, has been a reliable run producer since joining the Orioles system in 1995 in a trade for Brad Pennington. "I've still got to improve more on defense," he said. "Up there [in the majors], balls have to be caught. You're supposed to make those plays you learn about here.

"But there is always something to work on. For three days, you can look like a million, but then one day later look like you've never seen a baseball before."

The Clyburn file

Age: 24

Position: Outfielder

Major-league time: 14 days

Major-league stats: 0-for-3, two strikeouts

How acquired: Trade, June 16, 1995, from Cincinnati along with RHP Tony Nieto for LHP Brad Pennington

Strengths: Has raw power and hits for a decent average

Weaknesses: Slowed slightly by after-effects of broken foot; his defense suspect

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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