Joe Strauss' skinny on the Orioles

April 05, 1999|By JOE STRAUSS

Pitchers

Ricky Bones: Once projected as a spot starter, will remain in middle/long relief.

Scott Erickson: Winless with an 8.38 ERA in five spring starts, could his preferred pairing with Lenny Webster return?

Mike Fetters: Managed to dispel health concerns. Saved Cuba exhibition.

Juan Guzman: Second in AL in exhibition ERA. Best pitcher in camp.

Doug Johns: Third left-handed reliever barely hung on to 11th spot.

*Scott Kamieniecki: "Strained" hamstring continues to resist treatment. Will likely miss April.

Doug Linton: Signed as minor-league free agent in December, right-handed nomad became feel-good story of March. Led AL in ERA.

Mike Mussina: Has given every indication this could be the year.

Jesse Orosco: Faced only 26 hitters this spring. Almost 42, his arm still holds life.

Sidney Ponson: O's hoped he would start season in long relief; instead he's the No. 4 starter.

Arthur Rhodes: Trimmed down "Vulture" finished more games than anyone else.

Heathcliff Slocumb: Control remains his wild card. Is potentially dominant.

Mike Timlin: Three losses, no saves (and one walk) in 13 innings this spring. Time to dial it up.

Catchers

Charles Johnson: Opponents stole on 28 of 32 attempts this spring. Still seeking a comfort zone with pitchers.

Lenny Webster: Must accept a diminished role with free agency approaching. His bat is working.

Infielders

Mike Bordick: No one was more consistent this spring. Led camp in slugging.

Will Clark: His range hasn't improved, his wit hasn't dimmed and his bat hasn't slowed.

Jeff Conine: Friday acquisition provides right-handed bat and needed flexibility.

*Delino DeShields: Hasn't played since March 4 but is close to returning from broken thumb.

Jesse Garcia: Rookie justified club's confidence with a breakthrough defensive camp. Will begin as backup at second.

Willis Otanez: Club feels his presence more important than a 12th pitcher.

Jeff Reboulet: Has always stepped up when given everyday opportunity. Still hindered by tendinitis in his heel.

Cal Ripken: Attempting to remake himself offensively after a trying camp.

Outfielders

Rich Amaral: Role player bothered by stiff back for most of camp. Last on club with 21 at-bats.

Brady Anderson: No longer driven by pull mentality, gave a solid impersonation of prototypical leadoff hitter.

Harold Baines: Shortchanged on at-bats by long looks given to Chris Hoiles and Otanez, Baines must use April to start himself.

Albert Belle: One homer in 58 at-bats. Orioles can't afford another of his sluggish Aprils.

B. J. Surhoff: Enters season carrying a line-drive bat plus greater responsibility. As No. 5 hitter, must protect Belle. * -- disabled list

Pub Date: 4/05/99

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