Kamieniecki heads to minors for 3 starts


Johnson replaces him

Guzman pushed back

May 19, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

In the latest attempt to get Scott Kamieniecki back in form and in the rotation for an extended period, the Orioles are sending the right-hander to Triple-A Rochester to make three starts. He will swap places with Jason Johnson, who will start tomorrow's game at Camden Yards after pitching well for the Red Wings.

Kamieniecki's last appearance came Thursday in Texas, when he allowed seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. In his other start, he gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings May 8 in Detroit. Afterward, he was criticized by manager Ray Miller for poor control and "bad body language" on the mound.

With Juan Guzman's start being pushed back to Saturday, Kamieniecki's next turn would have come Thursday against Texas. Instead, he'll join the Red Wings rotation and start Thursday's game, with assurances he'll return to the Orioles within 20 days to avoid losing service time. Because of his tenure, he had to give the club his approval to be sent down.

If all goes according to plan, Kamieniecki's return would coincide with the need for a fifth starter June 8 in Florida.

Miller, general manager Frank Wren and assistant GM Bruce Manno met with Kamieniecki around 1: 30 p.m. yesterday to discuss their options. Also under consideration was allowing Kamieniecki, who opened the season on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, to work through his problems in the bullpen.

"He feels he's just not at the caliber he wants to be right now," Miller said. "I told him I was probably a little bit selfish in wanting to get him back sooner."

If Kamieniecki continues to struggle while at Rochester, the club could release him if willing to eat the remainder of the $3.1 million owed him this year.

The Orioles announced Johnson's recall after last night's game. Johnson was 4-2 with a 3.65 ERA in eight starts at Rochester. He's allowed 35 hits in 44 1/3 innings, walking 27 and striking out 47. Johnson, a 25-year-old right-hander, was 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 13 starts last season for Tampa Bay, which dealt him to the Orioles this spring for outfielder Danny Clyburn.

Guzman `90 percent better'

Guzman threw in the bullpen for 10 minutes yesterday for the first time since leaving Saturday's start in Texas after four innings with lower-back stiffness. He also did some running and said he's feeling "90 percent better."

Guzman is taking an anti-inflammatory drug for the condition, which he said has been diagnosed as a pulled muscle. The injury, which is confined to the left side, occurred in the first inning.

"I tried to push it to see if it would get better," he said. "Sometimes in a game you get a little sore somewhere and you just keep going. This time, it was getting worse."

Webster: No cane, crutches

Though still walking with a noticeable limp to combat the soreness, catcher Lenny Webster is able to put more pressure on his badly sprained right ankle, which forced him on the disabled list retroactive to May 13.

"Before, I thought I was going to need a cane or crutches. Now I'm walking better," said Webster, who was injured while falling back to avoid a pitch from Cleveland's Dwight Gooden.

"It's still pretty sore. Hopefully, when we get rid of the swelling it'll start feeling better."

Webster had an MRI done on the ankle Monday and was waiting for the results. He spoke with team orthopedic doctor Michael Jacobs, who termed the injury a "Grade 2 sprain."

In Webster's absence, Charles Johnson played in his 12th straight game, including 10 starts. Twice, he entered games early after Webster was injured.

Tommy Davis, whose contract was purchased from Rochester when Webster went on the DL, had entered two games in the eighth inning before last night. He eagerly awaits his first start.

"It would be real nice and I'm looking forward to it, if that's what happens," he said. "I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing here and if it happens it'll be good."

Davis and a teammate had gone to dinner while the Red Wings were in Richmond, Va., and he found out about the promotion after checking his hotel voicemail.

"It was overwhelming. I couldn't sleep," he said.

Davis has been given the No. 23 formerly worn by Chris Hoiles, who spent eight full seasons in Baltimore before his release this spring.

"Hoiley kind of took care of me in spring training; taught me some of the things to do and not to do," Davis said. "I look up to Chris Hoiles. It couldn't be a better number."

Clark return awaited

Will Clark made further progress in his recovery from a fractured left thumb by hitting yesterday, and Miller said he expects the first baseman to be ready by the end of this week.

Clark was batting .370, and was 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position when he went on the disabled list April 19.

"As far as the offense goes, that's really been a big missing link for us," Miller said.

Clark remains mum about his possible return, saying it does no good to speculate. Asked if it's easier for him to field or hit, Clark said, "Pain is pain."

Pub Date: 5/19/99

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