Trebelhorn gives short shrift to rumors of succeeding Miller


`Very happy' farm chief `uncomfortable' with talk


May 02, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

While acknowledging the speculation that continues to swirl around the organization about manager Ray Miller's possible successor, farm director Tom Trebelhorn said yesterday he's not pursuing the job and is "uncomfortable" addressing the situation.

"No way. I've got a good job without any problems. I'm very happy," Trebelhorn said before the Orioles' 7-2 loss to Minnesota.

"If I had the desire to do that, I would have gone after something before."

Asked if the front office is aware of his feelings, Trebelhorn said, "I think they know."

If a move is made, it's believed Trebelhorn or a member of the current staff would become Miller's successor. Of that group, only Trebelhorn has experience managing in the majors, having held jobs with the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs.

"The subject has not been broached. Absolutely not," he said.

And if he's offered the position? "I have no response to that scenario," he said.

Being summoned back to the field might mean walking away from his current duties only until a permanent successor is named for next season.

"It's uncomfortable," Trebelhorn said. "We're all working on the same end, all working for the same thing. We want to win. The way we started off was uncomfortable for everybody.

"All the speculation is just speculation. Who wants to be mentioned for this? It's unfair to everybody. It's no fun, but it's a story."

Molina's big move

Reliever Gabe Molina arrived at Camden Yards yesterday morning unsure of his exact role and still shocked to be sitting in the same row of lockers as such All-Stars as Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson and Will Clark.

Molina, who took Heathcliff Slocumb's place on the roster, was stretching near the right-field line before Friday night's game with Triple-A Rochester when manager Dave Machemer and pitching coach Larry McCall approached him with the news.

"I just couldn't believe it," he said. "No one ever told me about the possibility of getting called up. It was a surprise to me. I'm just letting it all soak in right now."

Miller wants Molina to fill a role similar to Mike Fetters, entering in the later innings and getting three outs. He had no trouble doing that in Rochester, cranking out 10 1/3 scoreless innings and recording four saves in nine games. And he did it in his big-league debut yesterday, getting through the ninth after allowing a leadoff single and walk.

"I really don't look at it as a pressure situation," said Molina, who saved 24 games at Double-A Bowie last year and was named the organization's Pitcher of the Year. "I'm looking at it like I've got to come in here and do a job and help this ballclub win. But I don't feel pressure in any way to come in here and try to do something spectacular. I've just got to do a job and pitch the way I pitch."

Ripken progress

Ripken took ground balls and swung in the cage before yesterday's game, continuing his progression from the nerve irritation in his lower back that forced him on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

"He looks OK," Miller said. "He's becoming more and more active the last two or three days. He's trying to evaluate everything."

Ripken isn't expected to be ready when eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday.

Miller wants more

Miller was scheduled to meet with general manager Frank Wren after yesterday's game to discuss adding players for tomorrow's game against the Cubans. He would like to have a couple of pitchers and outfielders in reserve.

"You have to play your roster, really. The only people you can replace are your starting pitchers," he said.

With Scott Kamieniecki using the game as another rehab assignment, there's the danger of burning up the bullpen before Tuesday's series opener against the Chicago White Sox.

Miller said he's hopeful Kamieniecki, on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, can give the club five or six innings before being activated. The right-hander threw four hitless innings Friday night at Single-A Frederick.

Miller also said he hasn't decided who will follow Kamieniecki into the game.

Ready to go again

Jose Contreras, who shut down the Orioles in their historic visit to Cuba in March, said he wants the ball again in tonorrow's return game in Baltimore.

"I'm ready to start in the game if they choose me to pitch," Contreras told the Associated press as he and other players picked for the Cuban squad received their uniforms in Havana.

"I'll pitch like I did here, with hardballs and curveballs," he added, as he signed autographs.

Contreras held the Orioles scoreless in his eight-inning relief appearance March 28 at Latin American Stadium, though Baltimore won, 3-2, in 11 innings in the first appearance by a major-league team in Havana in 40 years.

Pub Date: 5/02/99

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