O's to promote Maine for start tomorrow

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

1.50 ERA in past 5 starts spurs first big league call

July 22, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

BOSTON -- The Orioles will promote top pitching prospect John Maine from Triple-A Ottawa to make his major league debut tomorrow night against the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards.

The team didn't announce the move until after last night's game, but Maine learned about it earlier in the day, and the other top candidate for the opportunity, Bruce Chen, made his scheduled start for Ottawa.

Maine, 23, started the season at Double-A Bowie, where he went 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He struggled for the first time in his minor league career after making the jump to Ottawa, but he has posted a 1.50 ERA in his past five starts.

Overall at Ottawa, Maine has gone 4-5 with a 4.26 ERA.

The Orioles needed a spot starter for tomorrow because they're playing a doubleheader today. Instead of having Maine pitch in the rowdy confines of Fenway Park, they decided to have Dave Borkowski pitch Game 2 tonight on three days' rest.

For now, the plan is to have Maine make one start and return to Ottawa, though that could change if he has an outstanding performance.

Yesterday, anticipating the coming strain on their bullpen, the Orioles promoted right-handed reliever Todd Williams from Ottawa and optioned outfielder Tim Raines to Ottawa.

Williams, 33, was 1-1 with two saves and a 3.05 ERA in 14 games since signing a minor league contract with the Orioles in mid-June. He hadn't pitched in the big leagues since 2001 with the New York Yankees.

Williams made his Orioles debut in ninth-inning mop-up duty during last night's 10-5 win, and it didn't go well. He faced four batters and retired only one, giving up a run on three singles.

Williams is the third player on the Orioles' roster who began the season with the Texas Rangers' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. The others are utility man David Newhan and catcher Ken Huckaby.

Roberts back, Hairston sits

Brian Roberts was back in the starting lineup, leading off and playing second base, after leaving Tuesday's game with a bruised right hand.

But Jerry Hairston was back on the bench after leaving Tuesday's game one inning earlier with a bruised rib cage.

Manager Lee Mazzilli said Hairston also experienced a slight case of whiplash after crashing into the right-field wall to make a spectacular catch.

So the manager didn't change his lineup, even though Roberts entered batting .167 (1-for-6) for his career against Boston starter Pedro Martinez, while Hairston, who said he wanted to play, was batting .333 (8-for-24) against Boston's ace.

Asked if it was a tough decision, Mazzilli said, "Not when [Hairston's] hurt like that."

Garcia-Martinez reunion

Karim Garcia figured he would get an earful from the Boston fans last night when he returned to Fenway Park for the first time since he played a memorable role in last year's American League Championship Series with the Yankees.

Garcia, who was traded Monday by the New York Mets to the Orioles, found himself facing Martinez, who drilled him with a fastball in Game 3 of that series, touching off a brawl.

Later, Garcia and former Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson were arrested after becoming involved in an altercation in the bullpen with a Red Sox groundskeeper. Garcia has a court date pending for that arrest on Oct. 26.

In an ESPN interview, Martinez continued to fan the flames, saying, "Who is Karim Garcia?" Yesterday, Garcia said of the incident "I put it behind me once we went to the next day."

Mazzilli, the Yankees' former first base coach, said, "We'll see how [Martinez and Garcia] react. You would like to think they're both professionals, and it's over with. But baseball's a funny game sometimes."

Garcia went 0-for-5 last night with two strikeouts.

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