Huggins' success based on hard work

Keys first baseman named league's Batter of Week

Douglass stays on a roll

Baseball

Minor league notebook

May 12, 2003|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Mention of the 2002 amateur draft brings one thought to most Orioles fans: the failure to sign pitcher Adam Loewen, the club's top pick out of British Columbia. They might be pacified by the swift progress of outfielder Val Majewski, taken in the third round, and pitcher John Maine, chosen in the sixth, but Loewen is their obsession.

Mike Huggins, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound first baseman, probably won't appear in many discussions.

Maybe it's time he did.

Lacking the national exposure that Loewen continues to receive at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, Huggins quietly was named the Carolina League's Batter of the Week after hitting .577 in eight games at Single-A Frederick. He went 15-for-26 with three doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs while becoming the first Keys player to win the award.

Signed by scout Ralph Garr Jr. after the Orioles chose him in the 13th round, Huggins reached base via a hit or walk in 21 straight games heading into the weekend and raised his average to .343. He batted .531 in a 10-game span, collecting 17 hits in 32 at-bats.

Only two players in the league posted higher averages than Huggins, 22, who was an honor student at Baylor University. His 37 hits also ranked third.

"He's a blue-collar guy," scouting director Tony DeMacio said. "He might be one of the hardest-working kids in our minor league system. It doesn't get much better than him. He plays above his tools. And there are no minuses with his makeup. He's just a great kid."

Huggins hit his second homer of the season during the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader, a two-run shot that helped the Keys defeat Kinston. He went 2-for-3 in both games and led Frederick with 19 RBIs going into the weekend.

Showing a knack for timely hits, Huggins stroked a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning that sent a May 4 game against Potomac into extra innings. The Keys won on the road, 9-8.

Huggins spent last season with the Orioles' new short-season affiliate in Aberdeen, where he batted .262 and led the NY-Penn League in games played with 76. He hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games, batting .338 with six doubles, seven RBIs and nine runs scored.

"Nothing that Huggy does surprises me," DeMacio said.

Triple-A Ottawa

Catcher Mike Seestedt made his second stop in Ottawa, this time as Robert Machado's replacement. Machado, who joined the Orioles when Brook Fordyce went on bereavement leave, hit a grand slam May 4 and a two-run shot Tuesday. ... After starting out 0-3, Sean Douglass has won four straight decisions. On Wednesday, he allowed one run and three hits over six innings in a 4-1 victory over Columbus. ... Closer Mike Garcia notched his eighth save Friday, after left-hander Eric DuBose shut out Norfolk over seven innings. DuBose, who made his first major league start with the Orioles before returning to Ottawa, struck out seven as the Lynx defeated New York Mets prospect Aaron Heilman. ... Jack Cust continues to help the Lynx. His bases-loaded walk contributed to Friday's win, and he went into the weekend with a team-leading 29 walks to go with 34 strikeouts and a .208 average in 101 at-bats. ... Carlos Mendez hit his fourth homer on Thursday as the Lynx defeated Columbus, 5-1. Fernando Rijo allowed one run and struck out six in seven innings.

Double-A Bowie

Manager Dave Trembley earned his 1,100th career win in the minors with Saturday's 3-2, 10-inning victory over Reading. ... Matt Riley failed for the fifth time to become Bowie's all-time leader in wins. He allowed two runs and struck out nine in six innings Saturday. Riley and Rick Forney are tied with 20 victories. ... The Orioles signed pitcher Dave Borkowski as a minor league free agent and assigned him to Bowie. Borkowski, 26, spent eight years in the Detroit Tigers organization. The Tigers released him from Double-A Erie after he went 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in eight games. Add him to the list of Orioles pitchers who have undergone ligament-transplant surgery. ... Outfielder Keith Reed was batting .135 before going 2-for-3 with two doubles in Friday's 4-0 loss to Reading. The game drew a season-high 4,372 to Prince George's Stadium. ... Reed, Tim Raines Jr. and Napoleon Calzado tied the club record with seven at-bats in Wednesday's 8-4, 13-inning victory over Erie. Calzado drove in the go-ahead run in the 13th and his hitting streak reached nine games Saturday. ... Reliever Enrique Ramirez was named the organization's Most Improved Pitcher at minor league spring training. ... Left-handers Brad Edwards and Jeff Wilson were assigned to Aberdeen. ... Pitcher Kenny Sims was promoted from Single-A Frederick last weekend. ... Reliever Tim Corcoran also joined the Baysox. ... First baseman Doug Gredvig missed three games with a sore lower back. He required treatment for a pulled stomach muscle last month.

Single-A Frederick

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