Finch well-armed to handle move

After stint with Baysox, he settles in at Frederick

Minor league notebook

July 19, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

When the Orioles promoted Brian Finch from low Single-A Delmarva to Double-A Bowie in early May, skipping one level, they understood the risks. They figured he might struggle after being a dominant pitcher with the Shorebirds. They knew he could be overmatched against Eastern League competition, setting him up to fail badly for the first time as a professional.

But they also knew he could handle the adversity if it came.

Finch's makeup impresses the Orioles as much as his right arm, which led to his selection in the second round of the 2003 draft out of Texas A&M. He went 2-6 with an 8.69 ERA in 11 games with Bowie before going down to Single-A Frederick, where he's 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three appearances.

So why the hasty promotion after only five starts at Delmarva? Finch was 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA and only two walks. He had command of three pitches. He threw strikes. And the Orioles needed to move up a pitcher to Bowie, but had nobody capable on Frederick's staff, which underwent major changes later in the first half.

Not everyone in the organization was comfortable with the move, but Doc Rodgers, director of minor league operations, believed Finch was the most obvious choice.

"We felt like, even if he struggled, he'd be all right with that and be able to bounce back and keep going," Rodgers said. "He was the most qualified at the time. And if he had setbacks and was sent down later on, he'd be able to make the adjustments."

Rodgers summoned Finch to his office at Camden Yards to inform the right-hander of his reassignment to Frederick. Rodgers wanted to make sure Finch was healthy. He also wanted to look in the pitcher's eyes and gauge whether his confidence had taken as many hits as he allowed with the Baysox.

"He said, `Oh no, I'm 100 percent. I've never felt better,' " Rodgers said. "I asked how he was doing mentally and he said, `I'm fine. I made some bad pitches at that level, pitches you can't get away with at Double-A. But I'm fine.'

"I told him that we wanted him to take a step back to Frederick, where he can make a few mistakes. And we talked more about how to pitch, using his changeup more. He's basically been a fastball, curveball guy and we want to expand his repertoire. We talked about pitching approach and strategy. We had a good talk. And he hadn't lost a bit of confidence. He's going to be all right."

Finch will stay in Fredrick "barring something unforeseen," Rodgers said.

Triple-A Ottawa

Former major league outfielder Armando Rios joined the Lynx on July 8. ... Darnell McDonald homered in consecutive games, giving him five. ... John Maine allowed one earned run (three total) in 6 1/3 innings Saturday as the Lynx lost for only the fourth time in 13 games. ... Ottawa moved within six games of .500 Friday for the first time since May 17. ... Bruce Chen held Norfolk to one run over six innings Friday, but didn't get the decision in Ottawa's 3-2, 12-inning win.

Double-A Bowie

Outfielder Eugene Kingsale returned to Bowie after an injury rehab assignment with Aberdeen. ... Walter Young's 22 homers are 11 short of the club record held by Calvin Pickering. Nobody in the organization hit more than 14 last season. ... David Crouthers, who earned the win in the Double-A All-Star Game, allowed six runs and seven hits in four innings in Saturday's 11-0 loss to Norwich.

Single-A Frederick

Pitcher Cory Morris was put on the temporary inactive list because of a family emergency in Texas. ... Jose Morban had two hits Friday, leaving his average at .218.

Single-A Delmarva

The Shorebirds lost their 11th straight home game Friday. ... Bryan Bass hit his second homer Saturday in a 7-6 win over Lake County.

Short-season teams

Aberdeen's Jacob Duncan was 6-for-6 with two homers and eight RBIs as a pinch hitter before grounding out Tuesday. ... Olney native Ryan Childs had a no-hitter through five innings and allowed one run over seven in Thursday's 4-2 win over Hudson Valley. ... Bluefield's Wilkin Felix allowed one earned run over his past 12 innings with 17 strikeouts.

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