Majewski sets sights on making majors

O's third-round pick is batting .312 at Aberdeen and eyeing bigger things

Minor-league notebook

Baseball

August 26, 2002|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

A group of players from the Aberdeen IronBirds spent Wednesday taking a tour of Camden Yards. Val Majewski is pretty certain he'll be returning, though not as a guest.

Majewski, the Orioles' third-round draft pick in June, was batting .312 with 14 RBIs in 27 games going into the weekend. So far, he has been as good as advertised.

"I was waiting for a long time to start playing professional ball," he said, "and once it started, it was everything I expected it to be. It's a great atmosphere. I don't know how you can't have fun playing baseball. It's so much fun.

"Now, your job is playing baseball. You go to the park and you're getting paid to play a game."

Majewski crafted a 12-game hitting streak that ended on Aug. 10. He batted .356 with four doubles, two triples, a homer and 10 RBIs. Going into the weekend, he was leading the team with a .338 average in August and had committed one error in center field all season.

Summers spent playing in the Cape Cod and New England Collegiate leagues made his transition to the lower Single-A level a lot easier.

"Getting the feeling of playing every day and living away from home kind of prepares you for it," he said.

His focus during Wednesday's visit was just as sharp as when he plays.

Standing behind the cage as the Orioles took batting practice, he said: "I don't know how any minor-league player wouldn't want to work his [butt] off to get here. I'll give it everything I've got. But I'd rather not just come up here for a cup of coffee. I want to come up here to stay."

Majewski, who played collegiately at Rutgers, didn't sign with the Orioles until July 22 - and not until majority owner Peter Angelos got involved in the negotiations.

"We weren't really negotiating the month after the draft. I was just waiting to hear back," he said. "In the middle of July is when I heard back from the scouting director [Tony DeMacio] and the owner, and things got settled. It took a lot longer than a lot of people expected, but I'm happy everything got done.

"I really wanted to start playing, so I was anticipating when I was actually going to get on the field. I knew I wasn't going to go back to school. I was just so anxious for the day to arrive, every day hoping for the phone call saying, `A deal's getting finished.' But I wasn't getting nervous. I knew it was going to happen."

Though he's still playing in the New York-Penn League, Majewski already can brag about making his first catch in a big-league ballpark.

Shortly after he signed, Majewski was sitting in front of the press box at Camden Yards when a foul ball headed in his direction. Instinctively, he reached out and made a bare-handed grab.

"I forget who it was, but someone hit a line drive right over the screen," he said, his eyes lighting up. "I just stuck out my hand and caught it."

Next time, he'll probably be wearing a glove. And occupying space in fair territory.

Triple-A Rochester

The Red Wings had won five in a row, and seven of eight, before yesterday. ... Outfielder Darnell McDonald was named the International League's Player of the Week for Aug. 12-18 after batting .619 (13-for-21) with four doubles, two homers and five RBIs. He went 5-for-5 on Aug. 17, and became the Red Wings' first Player of the Week since Willis Otanez in May 1998. A leg injury prevented McDonald from racing thoroughbred Zippy Chippy, but he returned to the Red Wings' lineup. ... Outfielder Darryl Brinkley went 5-for-8 with three stolen bases in Monday's 15-inning loss to Pawtucket. Third baseman Shane Andrews threw two scoreless innings to get the win, showing off an 88-mph fastball and a knuckleball. At 4 hours, 57 minutes, it was the longest game in Frontier Field history. ... Jacobo Sequea threw seven hitless innings against Syracuse on Tuesday, but because he's on a 100-pitch limit, manager Andy Etchebarren removed him before the eighth with Sequea's count at 97. Reliever Leslie Brea allowed a two-out hit. Sequea, who spent 25 days on the disabled list with a biceps injury at Double-A Bowie, retired 17 in a row after a leadoff walk. ... Howie Clark was batting .211 in 10 games this month, and the Red Wings listed him as day-to-day with a sore hand.

Double-A Bowie

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