Miller gives Timlin vote of confidence

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

But manager wants closer to gain more consistency

May 21, 1999|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Despite watching Mike Timlin blow the second save in his past three chances Wednesday night, Orioles manager Ray Miller indicated yesterday that he hasn't lost confidence in his closer.

"I'd like to see him get some consistency, but I think he'll be fine," Miller said before last night's game against the Anaheim Angels.

Timlin still sees the pitch, a belt-high sinker that Andy Sheets drilled into left-center field for a two-run double in the ninth inning that turned an apparent victory into a 5-4 loss. He didn't, however, see it in his sleep.

"I didn't sleep very well," he said. "I never do when I pitch because my adrenalin's so high. My mind's on the game and what happened."

Timlin saw something else besides the pitch when he arrived home -- his 2-year-old son, Jacob. It proved to be most therapeutic.

"The situation usually dissipates quite a bit when I see my son's face," he said. "He asked me if I pitched. He doesn't know if I won or if I lost. He doesn't care. And that usually makes everything quite all right.

"This is still just a game. Yes, we're getting paid and we're professionals, but life's going to go on."

And Timlin's going to want the ball in the next save situation.

"I probably won't make that same mistake," he said.

J. Johnson makes pitch

Jason Johnson arrived in the Orioles' clubhouse at 4: 05 p.m. yesterday after being told by Miller that he could sleep in since he arrived in Baltimore late Wednesday night from Triple-A Rochester. Given the starting assignment last night, Johnson met with catcher Charles Johnson in a hurried get-acquainted session.

"We've got to go over what he does best and just stay with it," Charles Johnson said before the game. "I've got to see what kind of pitches he wants to use and how he wants to use them. From there, we'll kind of work in every hitter with his game.

"It's always difficult when you're in this situation."

Miller could have given Tommy Davis his first major-league start, knowing the rookie had caught Johnson in Rochester, but decided to wait until Saturday afternoon's game to rest Johnson.

"Charles can catch anybody," Miller said.

Coaches Elrod Hendricks and Marv Foley have been working with Johnson's technique behind the plate. Because of his size, Johnson has a tendency to lean forward and come up as the pitch arrives.

"We've been trying to get him to set more erect and let the ball come to him," Miller said. "He's been a lot smoother back there."

Kamieniecki wins as Wing

Making the first of his three projected starts at Rochester yesterday, Scott Kamieniecki picked up the victory by allowing three runs in six innings against Louisville. He threw 87 pitches and gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out four. He also hit a batter.

Kamieniecki surrendered a homer in the first inning and two more runs in the third on a double, triple and sacrifice fly.

In his two starts with the Orioles, Kamieniecki walked seven in five innings. He took a 23.40 ERA to Rochester, where he was assured of staying no more than 20 days to avoid losing service time.

Miller was told by Red Wings pitching coach Larry McCall that Kamieniecki exhibited good location and threw all four pitches for strikes.

"He said Kamieniecki was really pleased," Miller said. "He got over his front leg. Bruce [Kison, pitching coach] and I have been trying to stop him from recoiling. He worked on it here two days ago and apparently it carried over to the game."

Clark gets in Fla. swing

Will Clark arrived at the club's minor-league complex in Sarasota, Fla., around 1 p.m. yesterday as he continued to work toward next week's return to the active roster.

Clark hit off live pitching, then took another 30-plus swings off the coaching staff. He'll play in today's 9 a.m. game in Sarasota and again at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Fort Myers, leading off every inning.

"He'll have to get to bed early," Miller said.

Barring any setbacks in his recovery from a fractured left thumb, Clark will join the club in Anaheim on Tuesday.

Riley moves up to Bowie

Left-hander Matt Riley, regarded as the organization's top prospect, inched closer to the majors yesterday when he was promoted to Double-A Bowie.

Riley labored early at Single-A Frederick before stringing together four quality starts. In that span, he went 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA, allowing 12 hits, walking six and striking out 32 in 31 2/3 innings.

Overall, he was 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA, 14 walks and 58 strikeouts in eight starts.

"It's time to move him," said Frederick manager Andy Etchebarren, a former Orioles catcher and bench coach. "I just hope people don't expect too much from him too early. He's 19 years old. But he's got quality stuff. He's got three pitches that he uses now. He wasn't using his changeup when he first got here, but now he's getting three pitches over the plate."

This is the second professional season for Riley, a third-round pick in the 1997 draft. He pitched at lower Single-A Delmarva last year, going 5-4 with a 1.19 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 83 innings.

Pub Date: 5/21/99

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