Kingsale promoted after latest shuffle of club's roster

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Outfielder hears news on way to breakfast

Julio sent to Bowie

May 04, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Outfielder Eugene Kingsale was headed to breakfast before catching a flight to Indianapolis early yesterday morning when Triple-A Rochester manager Andy Etchebarren tracked him down.

"Did anyone get hold of you?" Etchebarren asked.

Kingsale had no idea what was coming next.

He would accompany the Red Wings to the airport as planned, but his flight wasn't going to Indianapolis. Kingsale had been recalled by the Orioles, with reliever Jorge Julio returning to Double-A Bowie in the latest change to a roster that remains in motion.

Kingsale and Julio shared something else in common besides the transaction: Neither one was performing at peak form at the time their paths crossed.

Kingsale was batting .242 (24-for-99) in 25 games, with eight doubles and four RBIs. A 2-for-28 slump in his past eight games had taken a large chunk out of a .310 average. Julio, who had appeared in only four games above Single-A before his promotion on April 24, carries a 33.75 ERA to Bowie.

Julio allowed a three-run homer to Tampa Bay's Ben Grieve in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game at Camden Yards - his second appearance with the Orioles. In his debut, on April 26 against the Detroit Tigers, Julio allowed two earned runs (three total) in one-third of an inning.

He blew away Eastern League competition as the Baysox's closer, but he couldn't locate a fastball with the Orioles that has topped out at 101 mph. By constantly falling behind hitters, he took a beating similar to the ones received while going 2-10 at Single-A Jupiter last season.

Ponson makes rehab start

When Sidney Ponson makes his injury rehab start at Double-A Bowie tonight, it will mark his first appearance with the Baysox since going 2-7 with a 5.42 ERA in 13 games in 1997. He tossed 15 shut-out innings in his first two appearances and was honored as the Eastern League's Player of the Week before the losses piled up and a sore elbow put him on the disabled list and limited his availability the rest of the summer.

So much for fond memories.

Ponson is scheduled to pitch four innings tonight in his first game since going on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis. He was eligible to return Tuesday, but the Orioles wanted him to face some hitters before activating him.

"I didn't want to go, but they sat me down and told me, and they know better than I do," he said. "Get it over with and come off sometime next week."

Ponson has thrown on the side three times, with the sessions lasting 10 to 12 minutes. He has progressed from throwing all fastballs, to mixing in a changeup during the second session, to using all of his pitches.

McElroy standing tall

Chuck McElroy keeps digging his heels into the Orioles' rotation, unable to be pushed aside no matterhow often he's challenged. If it's not someone from the bullpen, it's a prospect like Josh Towers. So far, McElroy hasn't budged, though he must brace again when Ponson comes off the disabled list.

"I don't read anything into that," he said of the constant speculation that he'll be replaced. "I'll just be ready."

He apparently doesn't need much advance notice concerning his status on the pitching staff. If McElroy's going to start, he'll find out soon enough. He doesn't require a constant dialogue with Hargrove or members of the coaching staff.

"Maybe it's good. Maybe they don't want me thinking too much. Sometimes, when you think too much, you're thinking wrong. I just go with the flow. If they tell me the day before, I'm fine with that," he said.

"Just give me the ball. I'll go out there and grind. No matter how they tell you, as long as you're getting the opportunity, that's the most important thing. Why should I have anything to complain about?"

His fifth start, and the seventh of his career, took place last night against the three-time defending world champions. It wasn't McElroy's first look at them in this role. His second victory as a starter came against the Yankees on Sept. 29, when he allowed one run over six innings.

Around the horn

Pitcher Beau Hale, the Orioles' top draft pick last June, will make his first start for Bowie on Sunday. He was promoted from Single-A Frederick earlier this week, and could duplicate Jay Spurgeon's feat last year of going from the Keys to the Orioles in one season.

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