Project Paradis: Next stop is Florida

No. 1 draft pick in 1999 founders at Triple-A, too

Baseball

Minor league notebook

May 03, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

To get Mike Paradis moving forward again, the Orioles decided he should take a few steps back. That meant putting his feet on Florida soil.

Paradis will do his throwing at the team's minor league complex in Sarasota, pitching at extended spring training, before reporting to short-season Single-A Aberdeen in June.

The experiment of making him a reliever at Triple-A Ottawa lasted seven games, enough time for Paradis to inflate his ERA to 14.81 and lose a little more confidence.

The 13th overall selection in the 1999 draft out of Clemson University, Paradis has compiled a 29-47 record while failing to establish himself at any level of the system. He spent three seasons at Double-A Bowie, always losing five more games than he won, before the Orioles decided to bump him up and change his role.

"He puts so much pressure on himself to be perfect," said Doc Rodgers, director of minor league operations.

"He's a hard-working kid, he's a great kid and he wants to do everything right, which is a good thing to a point. So we said: `You'll come in as a reliever. You have a job to do. Just do that and don't carry the weight of the club on you as a starter, like, "Hey, if I don't get off to a good start, I might put us behind.'" Take those issues away.

"Just come in for two- and three-inning spurts and go after those guys, instead of thinking, `I have to go six or seven to win the game.' It's goal-setting. Let's start with short-term goals and build on that."

The results were disastrous.

In his final appearance with the Lynx, Paradis relieved Brian Forystek in the third inning of Tuesday's game against Pawtucket and allowed nine straight hits - four singles, four doubles and a home run. He had reached bottom, and the Orioles were left with no choice except to pull him out of the International League.

"He's been having command issues, and then the other night he threw strikes, but in an effort just to do that, he didn't throw the ball the way he can, with his best stuff," Rodgers said. "Now you're in a twilight zone, where, when I throw my good stuff I can't put it in the zone, and when I do put it in the zone, it gets hit."

The club senses that Paradis is pressing because of where he went in the draft. The Orioles made an investment and haven't gotten anything in return, which gnaws at him and compounds his problems.

"Baseball-wise, you're like, `OK, we need to see improvement,'" Rodgers said, "but at some point you've got to sympathize."

Paradis turns 26 today. He didn't expect to spend his birthday so far from the majors, with his professional career in ruins.

"As everyone in baseball knows, his stuff is fantastic. But you have to throw it over the plate and you have to command it," Rodgers said.

"His first outing ... at Ottawa, he did a good job. He ... got us out of a jam. I was like, `OK, here he goes.' But as soon as he started battling a little bit, he couldn't get out of the hole. We had to get him out of that situation. It's the only way to get him turned around."

Triple-A Ottawa

The Lynx allowed 48 runs in a four-game series with Pawtucket, losing the last three. ... Knuckleballer Joe Gannon was reassigned to Aberdeen after he went 0-4 with a 10.24 ERA and 26 walks in 19 1/3 innings, but he returned to the club Friday. Gannon walked eight in 5 1/3 innings in Wednesday's 9-0 loss to Pawtucket. ... The Lynx acquired left-hander Andrew Lorraine from the Pittsburgh Pirates' organization. They also added pitchers Ryan Childs and Carlos Perez to their roster before sending them to Aberdeen a few days later. Childs, who pitched in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League last year, made his Triple-A debut Thursday and allowed four runs in three innings in a 16-7 loss. ... Clay Bellinger hit two homers Thursday, giving him four this season, and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs the next day. ... Manager Tim Leiper and infielder Eddy Garabito were ejected Wednesday. ... Second baseman Mike Fontenot went 9-for-14 with five runs in a three-game span.

Double-A Bowie

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