Pitching is above par in 2nd intrasquad game


Mussina looks strong in two scoreless innings

Dykhoff makes his mark

March 02, 2000|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Pitching dominated again in the Orioles' second intrasquad game yesterday, beginning with Mike Mussina, who tossed two scoreless innings and fielded the usual questions.

How did he feel? Did he accomplish what he wanted?

Good, and yes.

Not that he's looking for much this time of year. "I think we're all just trying to get ourselves reacclimated to what we're doing. Whether it's pitching, catching, hitting, whatever. I did as much as I wanted to do," he said.

"I got it over the plate most of the time."

Most important, he got away unscathed. No twinges in the elbow, no line drives with bad intent.

"He was fine. He looked strong, he threw strikes. And he came out of it uninjured," manager Mike Hargrove said after the 5 1/2-inning game ended in a scoreless tie.

"The first intrasquad games, that's what you're looking for as much as anything, getting everybody through it healthy. It was kind of mission accomplished."

Mussina allowed two soft singles, to Brady Anderson and Ryan Minor, and walked one. The game's other starter, left-hander Chuck McElroy, didn't allow a hit in two innings.

The top pitching performance might have come from left-hander Radhames Dykhoff, who struck out two in his only inning. Minor was the most productive hitter, going 2-for-2 with a double. B. J. Surhoff also doubled.

While not dismissing their chances completely, Hargrove conceded that with options remaining, Minor and first baseman Calvin Pickering are long shots to accompany the team north.

"They'd need to show real well," Hargrove said. "It depends on the injury status of the club. Realistically, a number of things would have to hit just right for them to make the ballclub."

Nine are signed

The Orioles have signed nine players to contracts for 2000, including left-handers Ryan, Matt Riley and Brian Falkenborg, who each pitched in the majors for portions of last season.

Also agreeing to terms were infielders Carlos Casimiro, Ivanon Coffie and Eddy Martinez, outfielder Luis Matos and pitchers Dykhoff and Richard Negrette.

Today marks the renewal date for any player still not under contract. If an agreement can't be reached, the Orioles can assign a salary. Starters Sidney Ponson and Jason Johnson are the most prominent players in this predicament.

Johnson, who earned $220,000 last season, apparently isn't losing any sleep over it.

"My agent's called me every night this week," said Johnson, who's projected as the fourth starter. "I don't know much about it. I trust whatever he does. I've been with him my whole career. Whatever he wants to do is fine with me.

"Regardless of what happens, I'm going to have a great season this year and go to arbitration next year if it happens."

Ponson, who earned $250,000 last season, is taking a similar approach.

"I'm not worried about that," he said. "That's my agent's job. I'm here to play ball."

The other Juan Guzman

The confusion comes when looking at the face. The name, number and position are the same, but that's where the similarities end.

There's a Juan Guzman in the Orioles' clubhouse, wearing No. 57 and dressing in the same row of lockers as some other pitchers in camp.

Sound familiar? It's a perfect match to the other Juan Guzman who wore an Orioles uniform. The Juan Guzman who began last season as the club's No. 3 starter and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds on July 31. The Juan Guzman who comes to mind when the name is mentioned.

The pitcher in camp this year spent last season at lower Single-A Delmarva, where he went 9-5 with a 3.55 ERA in 29 games, including 18 starts. He walked 44 and struck out 134 in 124 1/3 innings.

Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 1994, Guzman began his professional career as a catcher before going to the mound in 1998. He didn't allow an earned run in his first eight appearances. But no matter what he does, he'll be linked to a more famous player with the same name.

Guzman, who turns 22 on Saturday, said through an interpreter that he often receives calls and mail intended for his namesake. Maybe he'll get some recognition of his own after yesterday's intrasquad game, when he tossed a scoreless inning.

Behan gets O's promotion

The Orioles announced yesterday that Kevin Behan has been named baseball information manager for the organization's public relations department.

Behan, 24, will be in charge of records and statistics, and will assist in preparing releases and game notes. He'll also coordinate player interviews and media credentials for all game-related activities.

A native of Baltimore and graduate of the University of Maryland, Behan has been with the Orioles as an intern and assistant in public relations since 1996.

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