O's spring forth with club record, edging Reds for 20th exhibition win

Orioles notebook

Julio picks up fourth save, but not closer's job - yet

March 31, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Orioles broke their franchise record for spring training victories yesterday, when they defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 3-2, at Louisville Slugger Field.

At 20-9-1, the Orioles also finished exhibition play with the best record in the American League. In 1969, the Orioles went 19-5 during the spring en route to an eventual World Series appearance.

This spring, the Orioles had winning streaks of eight games and seven games.

"Any time you break a record, it's nice," said manager Mike Hargrove. "If 20 wins in the spring translate into 95 during the regular season, I'll take it."

No closer commitment

Reliever Jorge Julio earned his team-leading fourth save and lowered his spring ERA to 0.69 yesterday, but Hargrove still isn't ready to name him the closer.

Asked if he would use Julio tomorrow against the New York Yankees with a one-run lead going into the ninth inning, Hargrove said, "I don't know. If you thought logically, based on the way we've been using him over the last half of the spring, you would say yeah and he very well could be the guy."

Hargrove continued to say he will use a closer-by-committee approach, with Julio, Willis Roberts and Buddy Groom splitting most of the duties.

Julio allowed one run in 13 innings this spring. He walked two and struck out 15. So why wait?

"Because he's 23," Hargrove said. "He doesn't scare me in those situations. What concerns me is having what we've been able to develop to this point getting set back."

Final roster

The Orioles finalized their 25-man roster with a couple surprises, keeping Luis Garcia as the fifth outfielder instead of Ryan McGuire and keeping right-hander Rick Bauer as the 11th pitcher, instead of left-hander John Bale.

The club designated Bale for assignment, meaning he will have to clear waivers before they can send him to the minors. McGuire, who signed a minor-league contract, was assigned to Triple-A Rochester, along with Travis Driskill, Lee Marshall, Sean Runyan and Eddy Garabito.

As expected, the Orioles kept infielder Mike Moriarty and reliever Chris Brock on their 25-man roster, optioning infielder Brian Roberts and outfielder Larry Bigbie to Rochester.

In other moves, the Orioles placed Pat Hentgen and John Parrish on the 60-day disabled list and moved Chris Richard, Luis Matos and Luis Rivera to the 15-day DL.

Cordova sits again

Left fielder Marty Cordova missed his third straight game with a strained right quadriceps muscle, but Hargrove still expects him to play in tomorrow's opener against the Yankees.

Shortstop Mike Bordick took a fastball from Scott Sullivan off the back of his left hand in the fourth inning, but Bordick remained in the game for another at-bat and later said he was fine.

O's opener

Opponent: New York Yankees

Site: Camden Yards

When: Tomorrow, 3:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Yankees' Roger Clemens (20-3, 3.51 in 2001) vs. Orioles' Scott Erickson (injured in 2001)

Gates open: Noon

Pre-game ceremonies: 2:30 p.m.

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