Erickson still tops in rotation

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Ponson 2nd, but Hargrove changes up last 3 spots

Notebook

July 06, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

ARLINGTON, Texas - Orioles manager Mike Hargrove announced his pitching rotation for after the All-Star break yesterday, leaving Scott Erickson in the first slot, followed by Jason Johnson, Travis Driskill, Sidney Ponson and Rodrigo Lopez.

Erickson was the Opening Day starter but is winless since April 28, going 0-6 with a 4.88 ERA in that span. Erickson had a complete game go to waste Wednesday in a 1-0 loss to the Anaheim Angels, and it will be his turn to pitch Thursday when the Orioles return from the break to play Oakland at Camden Yards. The new rotation looks fairly different from the one that started the season.

Erickson, Johnson, Ponson, Josh Towers and Calvin Maduro entered last night with a combined record of 11-25.

Towers (0-3), demoted to Triple-A Rochester, has been on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Maduro (2-5) had right elbow surgery (bone spur) and isn't expected back until mid-to-late August.

Rookies Driskill and Lopez have been the difference, going a combined 13-4. Both won against the Angels this week on nights when they weren't as sharp as usual.

Coming off his first loss and first poor performance of the season, June 28 against Philadelphia, Driskill (6-1) held the Angels to two runs in six innings in Thursday night's 7-2 victory.

Driskill threw 104 pitches, relying almost exclusively on his fastball and split-fingered fastball. The Angels were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while Driskill was in the game.

"I actually feel like I got stronger," Driskill said, "as the game went on."

Ripken's locker preserved

The Texas Rangers have honored Cal Ripken by keeping his locker in the visiting clubhouse just as he left it after his last game at The Ballpark, on July 26, 2001. Ripken's jersey, undershirts, cleats and sunglasses are still in the locker near the clubhouse entrance, all preserved behind a sheet of glass.

Around the bases

Entering last night's game, the Orioles were successful in their 12 stolen-base attempts. Orioles catcher Geronimo Gil, meanwhile, had thrown out four potential base stealers in a row. ... As expected, Ponson will make his scheduled start tonight, despite leaving Sunday's game after two innings because of a blister on his right middle finger. ... Jeff Conine tried testing his strained right hamstring again yesterday, but the Orioles still are expected to leave him on the DL until after the break.

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