Greene, Mouton, Kingsale only ones recalled Orioles wait on others

Orioles Notebook

Miller's father-in-law dies

September 01, 1998|By Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko | Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Roster limitations, deference to veterans and the minor-league schedule persuaded the Orioles to promote only three players from within the organization when rosters expand today. Rochester catcher Charlie Greene, outfielder Lyle Mouton and Bowie outfielder Eugene Kingsale will join the club immediately.

The players promoted were named as much for the needs they fill as for meritorious achievement. Mouton and Kingsale are expected to provide depth in an outfield ripped by nagging injuries. Greene can spell Chris Hoiles and Lenny Webster, who have been bothered by respective back and shoulder problems.

Rochester right-hander Chris Fussell will likely be promoted next week and work in long relief. Though outshone statistically by ex-Oriole Rocky Coppinger, Fussell carries less baggage within the front office and clubhouse, where Coppinger has done little to curry favor.

The Orioles will at least postpone and might even choose not to promote the Bowie trio of third baseman Ryan Minor, second baseman Jerry Hairston and first baseman Calvin Pickering, considered the organization's three top position prospects above Single-A. None of the three is now on the 40-man major-league roster and Bowie's regular season extends through Sept. 7.

Hairston began the season as shortstop at Single-A Frederick, but jumped a classification and handled a position switch from shortstop. Hairston, 22, batted .342 with five home runs and 31 RBIs in 187 at-bats at Bowie.

Minor, 24, endured a rough start before raising his average to .251 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs. Pickering, 21, led the Eastern League in home runs (30) and RBIs (111).

Greene and Mouton both played with the Orioles earlier this season. At Rochester, Greene is hitting .207 with four home runs and 27 RBIs in 246 at-bats. Mouton, signed as a free agent following his release from the Japanese Pacific League, is hitting .321 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs in 137 at-bats.

Manager Ray Miller projected the speedster Kingsale as a pinch runner. The switch-hitter's promotion was the most surprising of the three given an unspectacular summer in which he batted .262 with one home run and 34 RBIs for the Double-A Baysox.

Kingsale, 22, played three games with the Orioles in 1996 -- two as a defensive replacement and one as a pinch runner. He has yet to have a major-league plate appearance.

Death in Miller family

Miller will miss tonight's game to be with his family in New Athens, Ohio, after the death of his father-in-law yesterday. Jack Graham, 71, lost a lengthy battle with colon cancer.

Miller will turn control of the club over to hitting coach Rick Down. Down managed two games in place of Davey Johnson last season when Johnson attended to personal problems in Florida.

Miller maintained an especially close relationship with his father-in-law, a longtime employee of the local coal company who lived only several miles away from his daughter, Judy, and Miller. At every opportunity this season Miller had commuted between Baltimore and his eastern Ohio home to be with Graham.

Surhoff to sit?

With Mouton arriving, the Orioles have enough depth in the outfield to rest B. J. Surhoff, something they couldn't do over the weekend.

Surhoff has appeared in every game this season, starting all but eight. Miller said yesterday that Surhoff probably would be replaced in left field by Mouton against Chicago left-hander Jim Parque.

"I went in and told him today that I was going to get him out of there," Miller said.

It may not be for the entire game, though. Miller said Surhoff would be used as a pinch hitter in the late innings, if possible.

"Playing every game is not that important, but he's proud of that. If there's a chance to get him a pinch hit later, I'd like to get him in the game somehow. He's had a heck of a year for us," Miller said.

Surhoff broke an 0-for-21 streak with a seventh-inning single last night and added another single in the ninth. He is 24-for-120 (.200) since July 26, dropping his average to .275.

"At this stage, it doesn't really matter. One day's not going to do all that much," Surhoff said.

"It actually gets harder when I don't know when I'll be in the game. If it was up to me, I'd just as soon play."

Drabek finally gets ball

As the season winds down, Doug Drabek is eager to get started again.

Tonight's start against Chicago will be the first for Drabek since he went 4 2/3 innings against Oakland on July 23. He pitched five innings in relief in Kansas City a week later, then was placed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

He's thrown on the side once since tossing five hitless innings at Double-A Bowie last Tuesday. Only one base runner reached.

"It feels good," he said of his leg. "I've been doing my normal stuff in the outfield, but obviously with some limitations as far as being careful. But it seems to be OK," he said.

Miller said Drabek could be extended to around 100 pitches, as the veteran seeks his first victory since July 17 in Anaheim.

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