Minor, Pickering no sure bets to join club Miller unwilling to have them just sit

Orioles Notebook

Greene joins aching outfield bunch

August 30, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Orioles manager Ray Miller expects to meet again soon with club officials to determine which players will be added when rosters expand beginning Tuesday. He wants another catcher, Triple-A Rochester's Charlie Greene being at the top of his list, and outfielder Lyle Mouton has a clause in his contract stipulating the Orioles bring him up. Infielder P. J. Forbes appears set for a return, as well.

But what about two of the organization's leading prospects, Double-A third baseman Ryan Minor and first baseman Calvin Pickering?

They're on the bubble, worthy of getting a look here but unlikely to find much of an opportunity because of the players in front of them and the need to create room on the 40-man roster.

Cal Ripken is locked in at third, his consecutive-games streak up to 2,613, and Rafael Palmeiro has started every game at first while establishing a career high for homers. Miller can't see the benefit of calling up players who only will be taking up space on the bench.

"It's kind of silly to advance time in the big leagues if you're not going to play. That's something we'll have to decide on," Miller said.

"There is some value to just seeing the big leagues, but if you're going to bring a guy here and start him on major-league time, you need to get some playing time, too."

Minor, 24, was named the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Year last season after hitting .307 with 24 homers and 97 RBIs at lower Single-A Delmarva. Only in his second full professional season, the transition to Double-A hasn't been smooth. He entered the weekend batting .256 with 17 homers, 70 RBIs and 143 strikeouts. He'll play in the Arizona Fall League after the season.

The adjustment has been easier for Pickering, a month from his 22nd birthday. After a 4-for-41 start, he was hitting .307 with 28 homers and 102 RBIs going into the weekend.

Rosters can hold up to 40 players, but the Orioles aren't expected to add more than six or seven to their regular 25.

"Obviously I don't want 40 because it really becomes a crowded problem in the clubhouse and it becomes, strategically, a really tough thing for the coaching staff," Miller said. "You want to make sure it's going to be somebody you'll use and will be able to help us. We've talked over some names and there are some people bordering. But we've got a couple days to make up our minds about that."

Greene hurting, too

Willie Greene's status is day-to-day after he strained a groin muscle while slipping on the rubberized surface near the right-field railing during Friday night's loss.

Greene already was having a rough night, misplaying a triple in the seventh inning that allowed Johnny Damon to come all the way around for a 5-3 lead. Chasing a double in the eighth, Greene lost his footing after picking up the ball and preparing to throw. He remained in the game, singling in the eighth and drawing a walk in the ninth, but was in obvious pain.

"He's been having a little bit of a groin problem and he just stretched it a little bit. He can probably hit," Miller said.

Greene, acquired from Cincinnati on Aug. 10 for outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, is 5-for-16 (.312) with a double, home run, two RBIs and six runs scored in his last nine games. He's made six starts in right field.

"He's swung the ball all right," Miller said. "He's showed me some patience at the plate. He's got a couple key walks, driven the ball. With the game on the line he's gotten a couple base hits. He's a talent. Probably more of a left fielder."

Clyburn to get first start

With the Orioles facing left-hander Chris Haney today, recent addition Danny Clyburn probably will get his first big-league start.

Clyburn, recalled from Triple-A Rochester when Willis Otanez went on the DL Friday, spent part of the afternoon taking fly balls in right field from coach Eddie Murray.

"I wanted to get used to how the sky looked and balls coming off the scoreboard," he said.

"I just want to take advantage of the opportunity given to me. If I get the chance, I want to open some eyes and get the job done."

He opened Murray's eyes when he collided with reliever Doug Johns in the outfield and hit the ground, but neither player was injured. Murray turned away, shaking his head.

Clyburn, who pinch ran for Chris Hoiles in the eighth inning last night and scored the Orioles' only run before playing right field in the ninth, was expected to join the club Tuesday when rosters expand until Otanez fractured his left wrist. "You never know RTC when you'll get called up. That's why you don't worry about it. You just keep working hard," he said.

Around the horn

Scott Kamieniecki threw in the bullpen for about 15 minutes before the game. Ripken's seventh-inning double, which broke up Brian Barber's no-hit bid, tied him with Rogers Hornsby for 17th on the career list with 541. Kansas City's Jose Offerman had reached base via a hit or walk in 46 of 47 games before going 0-for-4. Haney is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in seven games vs. the Orioles. B. J. Surhoff went 0-for-3 and is mired in a 2-for-30 (.066) skid. The Royals are 3-18 vs. New York and Boston, and 60-55 against everyone else.

Pub Date: 8/30/98

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