Craving work, DeJean gets it but gets pounded in blue series vs. Jays

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Reliever's ERA hits 11.12

rainout reset for August

Notebook

April 27, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Orioles reliever Mike DeJean has gotten his wish to receive more consistent work. The next goal is doing something positive with it.

Last night's rainout had no effect on DeJean, who wouldn't have pitched after appearing in three straight games. The Orioles were going to rest him before he resumed throwing on the side today while attempting to straighten out his mechanics.

Signed as a free agent to serve as the right-handed setup man, DeJean has allowed six runs and seven hits, and walked three, in his last 2 1/3 innings. He took the loss Saturday after Toronto broke a 4-4 tie in the 12th inning, and the Blue Jays scored four runs against him the next day in one-third of an inning, leaving his ERA at 11.12. He came into the season with a 4.26 ERA after 443 games for Colorado, Milwaukee and St. Louis.

"His delivery's just not consistent right now," pitching coach Mark Wiley said, noting how DeJean's release points are varying.

"A veteran guy, once you get your rhythm going over time, you're able to duplicate your delivery consistently. Right now, he's flying out and spinning off one time, then he stays on the target and throws a good pitch. Then he throws a sinker, but it only sinks thigh-high instead of down where it's supposed to be. It also takes away the consistency in his splitter and slider. We've been working on it.

"He's had three outings in a row, and even though they weren't the best, sometimes that gets your rhythm going. We'll work again [today] and see if we can lock him in."

Before allowing a run Friday, DeJean hadn't pitched since going two-thirds of an inning April 15 in Boston. The Blue Jays ended his streak of four straight scoreless outings.

"I just need a more consistent workload," he said. "I'm a guy of repetition. I need to be out there a lot to get in a rhythm and get my arm angle where it's supposed to be and get the feel of all my pitches."

Manager Lee Mazzilli also blames DeJean's struggles on his inactivity before the weekend. Left-hander B.J. Ryan hasn't allowed a run in eight appearances this season, eliminating the need for DeJean to face right-handed batters. Rodrigo Lopez and Buddy Groom also have scoreless streaks intact.

"He needs to get back in a steady regimen out there," Mazzilli said of DeJean.

DeJean replaced John Parrish in the eighth inning Sunday and let two inherited runners score on a single and double. He allowed a two-run double to Chris Woodward and a two-run single to Reed Johnson, and left the game after hitting Frank Catalanotto.

The remaining fans booed DeJean as each Toronto batter reached base and the 15-3 loss neared completion.

"They weren't booing me as loud as I was booing myself inside," he said. "But you have to take it with a grain of salt. I chose to come here and I want to be part of what the Orioles have going. All I can say is, be patient."

Doubling up on Aug. 3

Yesterday's game will be made up Aug. 3 as part of a day-night doubleheader at Camden Yards. The opener is scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m.

The rainout pushed back Matt Riley, Kurt Ainsworth and Eric DuBose one day, but Sidney Ponson will stay on normal rest by pitching Friday night in Cleveland. Left-hander Erik Bedard starts Saturday on six days' rest, followed by Riley.

Bedard hoped to work on a normal schedule after throwing 88 pitches in 3 2/3 innings of Saturday's loss to the Blue Jays, but the weather didn't allow it.

Around the horn

Catcher Javy Lopez is 2-for-18 in his past four games, but his .371 batting average still ranks fifth in the American League. ... Rafael Palmeiro has hit more home runs against Seattle than any other player. He has 48 against the Mariners and Anaheim Angels, the most he's accumulated against any club.

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