Garcia rides clutch hit to spot on O's roster


Outfielder gives Hargrove more speed off the bench


May 18, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Get a game-winning hit and get promoted.

That's how the timing worked for outfielder Luis Garcia, who was recalled by the Orioles yesterday morning and reported to Camden Yards for last night's game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Catcher Izzy Molina was outrighted to Double-A Bowie after clearing waivers.

The news came to Garcia after he stroked a run-scoring single in the 11th inning Thursday to give Triple-A Rochester a 9-8 win over Durham. His 10-game hitting streak is on hold.

"We don't need to carry three catchers, and we haven't really had a guy on our bench who runs real well," manager Mike Hargrove said. "Luis gives us a switch-hitter who can come off the bench. He's a good runner, and he gives us a couple of those abilities that we really haven't had on our bench."

Garcia, signed out of the Mexican League, began the season with the Orioles before being optioned April 12. He got into two games without a plate appearance and was batting .266 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 28 games at Rochester.

"I'll be here probably doing the same kind of job that I did when I was here before," he said.

Rusty after sitting on the bench and unable to adapt to the frigid temperatures, Garcia got off to a slow start with the Red Wings but was batting .419 in his past 10 games.

"I was here for almost two weeks and didn't face live pitching. Then I went three more days without batting, because I went down there and they were on the road. And the cold weather - it's amazing how cold it was up there. That was the hardest part," he said.

Molina's contract was purchased from Rochester on May 3, and he went 1-for-3 in his only appearance with the Orioles. He was brought up as insurance after catcher Geronimo Gil injured his left groin and right hamstring.

Bigbie back for Wings

Larry Bigbie finally resurfaced for Rochester after his six-hit game on May 6, scoring the tying run in the 11th inning of Thursday's win. The former No. 1 draft pick entered as a pinch runner for Ryan McGuire and raced home on Jose Leon's two-run triple.

Bigbie strained his right shoulder while making a diving catch during his record-setting performance and probably won't be cleared to hit until next week. If healthy, he would have been a candidate to join the Orioles.

"It felt good to do something to help the team," he told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The Red Wings received outfielder Darnell McDonald and infielder Franky Figueroa from Bowie, and both players were in last night's lineup. Reliever Kris Foster went on the disabled list with a sore elbow. He was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in 14 games, and opponents were batting .301 against him.

Baysox greet Pa. students

The Baysox are playing host to a group of 13 students from Berks Christian School in Birdsboro, Pa., who were kidnapped by their bus driver in January and taken to the Washington, D.C., area.

The students and their parents will be guests for tonight's game against the Erie SeaWolves at Prince George's Stadium.

"After the incredible ordeal they went through, the Baysox are glad that we can help to display some of the great attractions that the area has to offer," said general manager Jon Danos.

The group will visit some of Washington's attractions before attending the game. They'll also visit College Park on Sunday and attend a luncheon at the University of Maryland.

A Prince George's police officer found the bus parked in a Landover Hills shopping center on Jan. 24. The driver, 66-year-old Otto L. Nuss, faces federal kidnapping and weapon charges.

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