Sequea gives Baysox boost in the bullpen

Acquired by O's in trade that also brought Ryan, he blossoms as closer


Minor league notebook

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

The 1999 non-waiver deadline trade that brought B.J. Ryan to Baltimore included another pitcher who's easily forgotten because he hasn't reached the majors. He's only made five appearances at the Triple-A level, none since 2002.

Ryan was the gem of that deal, which sent starter Juan Guzman to the Cincinnati Reds, but Jacobo Sequea is beginning to look pretty valuable, as well.

Heading into the weekend, Sequea led Double-A Bowie with 19 saves and had a 2.09 ERA in only his second season as a closer. The Orioles converted the right-hander last summer after reassigning him to Single-A Frederick, a move that has re-established Sequea, 22, as a prospect.

Sequea went a combined 2-10 at Bowie and Rochester in 2002, with only one of his 20 appearances coming out of the bullpen. After posting a 9.56 ERA in six games at Bowie last season, the Orioles moved him to Frederick and changed his role.

As the Keys' closer, he finished fifth in the Carolina League with 20 saves despite not arriving until June 9. He didn't allow a run in 25 of 32 outings. "He's a late bloomer," said Doc Rodgers, director of minor league operations. "It's taken him a while, and maturity has played as big a part as anything."

Being a reliever has given Sequea less time to think, and worry, between appearances.

"He's one of those guys who, the longer he has between starts, the more things he wants to fix, even if they're not broken," Rodgers said.

Sequea throws a fastball and slider, both major league-caliber pitches. He's become more aggressive on the mound as a closer and has a resilient arm that allows him to appear in consecutive games.

"He loves pressure situations," Rodgers said, "and that's a pretty good formula for pitching in relief at the end of a ballgame."

Triple-A Ottawa

Making his first start since the Orioles optioned him on July 2, Matt Riley allowed one run and walked four in three innings in Saturday's 5-3 loss to Pawtucket. ... Jack Cust and Chad Mottola homered in consecutive games, giving them 12 each heading into Sunday. ... Bruce Chen and manager Tim Leiper were ejected in the fourth inning of Wednesday's 8-7 win after the left-hander hit Louisville's Jim Chamblee. ... Jose Leon hit his 16th homer Wednesday. ... Matt DeWitt took John Maine's turn Thursday and allowed eight runs in 2 2/3 innings in a 9-7 loss to Louisville.

Double-A Bowie

Matt Bruback struck out 11 batters in six innings Friday, but the Baysox lost to Altoona, 4-3. ... Val Majewski drove in six runs Thursday, three coming on a homer, in an 8-4 win over Reading. ... Walter Young went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs Wednesday in a 5-4 loss to Reading. ... Young was hit in the head by a pitch Tuesday and left the game, but only as a precaution.

Single-A Frederick

B.J. Littleton returned from a 15-day suspension for using a banned muscle supplement. ... Richard Stahl allowed six runs (four earned) in two innings in Friday's 17-4 loss to Salem. ... Jeff Wilson tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings Saturday, striking out 10 and not walking a batter. ... Tripper Johnson hit his 19th homer Friday. ... Chris Ray's ERA jumped to 5.08 Tuesday after he allowed four runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Single-A Delmarva

The Shorebirds ended a 12-game home losing streak Tuesday by defeating Hagerstown, 6-5, in 13 innings. ... Adam Loewen (3-4) shut out Hagerstown over five innings Saturday, striking out seven, in a 4-0 win. ... Nick Markakis, the Orioles' first-round selection in the 2003 draft, homered in consecutive games to give him 11 heading into Sunday. ... Fredy Deza retired 19 of 23 batters Wednesday in an 8-0 win over Lake County.

Short-season teams

Aberdeen's Luis Ramirez shut out Brooklyn over five innings in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader. He struck out eight and walked none. ... Going into the weekend, left-hander Russell Petrick was 1-0 with a 7.04 ERA in seven home games and 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four road games. ... Left-hander David Haehnel hadn't allowed an earned run in his last eight appearances, striking out 14. He ranked third in the New York-Penn League with six saves. ... Bluefield left-hander Ryan Schwabe has recorded five or more strikeouts in all five starts.

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