Coppinger takes a seat in bullpen

May 23, 1999|By Roch Kubatko

Rocky Coppinger was back in the Orioles clubhouse yesterday after being recalled from Triple-A Rochester. Unlike his last stop here, when he made two starts and compiled a 13.50 ERA, Coppinger will be used out of the bullpen. Five of his six appearances with the Orioles last season came in relief.

"I think it will help him because Rocky is a pretty fierce competitor who builds himself up with a lot of emotion," manager Ray Miller said. "When you call him up with all he's been through and say, `You're starting Thursday,' he sits around and puts a lot of undo pressure on himself.

"Rocky's coming without any promises. I want him to go out and compete."

Coppinger sounded willing to do just that, with no complaints about being left out of the rotation.

"Maybe this is something that will be good for me. I'm kind of excited," he said.

Along with Jason Johnson, who started Thursday's game against Anaheim, Miller has met his goal of getting two of the organization's better arms to the majors while Scott Kamieniecki straightens out his problems at Rochester.

Coppinger takes the place of reliever Gabe Molina, who returned to Rochester.

"Gabe Molina is a young prospect who needs to be throwing on a daily basis, and it's hard to do that here," Miller said.

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