Bedard's 125 pitches a healthy number

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

With elbow not a problem, rookie unfazed by Friday's pitch count vs. Rangers

Orioles

August 08, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Two years removed from major surgery on his left elbow, Erik Bedard thought nothing of having his pitch count reach 125 in Friday's start against the Texas Rangers. And neither did the Orioles.

Bedard was taken out after 6 1/3 innings with a 9-0 lead. He has exceeded 100 pitches in eight of his past nine games without going past the seventh - but this outing was different.

The rookie wasn't matched up against the Boston Red Sox's Pedro Martinez, which happened in two straight starts, or the New York Yankees, his opponent the last day of July. He was throwing with more ease, which proved less taxing on his arm.

"Against Pedro, you get to 75 or 80 in the sixth inning, you start worrying because every pitch is like the ninth inning, where you make a mistake and you lose," pitching coach Ray Miller said. "But that was a little bit different."

"Some games," Bedard said, "you try to throw a little harder. But last night I wasn't throwing the ball 110 percent every pitch. I just picked my spots to do it and that's the thing I'm going to learn as I grow up in the big leagues."

Manager Lee Mazzilli noted how Bedard was fluid in his delivery, with no drop in velocity, as the seventh inning began.

"Plus the weather was nice and cool, and that had something to do with it," Mazzilli said. "You feel a little stronger on a night like that."

Miller believes that Bedard is just "a perfected changeup away from being a 25-game winner if he stays healthy."

"It's his third pitch right now, and he just needs to improve that," Miller said. "I've been a little hesitant, because he's coming off surgery, to change anything. Hopefully by next spring he'll have a more usable changeup.

"I like his makeup. He reminds me of [Mike] Flanagan in that you can tell him something and if he thinks it's pertinent, he takes it, and if it's not, it just bounces right off. And I like that. He's able to pick out what's going to help him."

Garcia misses game

Karim Garcia missed his second straight game because of a sore right heel.

Garcia pulled up after crossing first base on an infield hit in Wednesday's 6-3 win over the Seattle Mariners. He stayed in the game but has been absent for the past two.

At least the team isn't short on left-handed-hitting outfielders.

Larry Bigbie (left field) and B.J. Surhoff (right field) started again at the corners yesterday. David Newhan was the designated hitter, but he has also played left and right this season.

Jay Gibbons remains on a rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie but could be activated next week, leaving the Orioles with a tough roster decision - one that could impact Garcia.

"If you have any solutions," Mazzilli said, "let me know."

Palmeiro rolls on

Two more at-bats from Rafael Palmeiro became linked to baseball history.

Palmeiro's single in the fifth inning was his 2,877th career hit, passing Mel Ott for 35th place on the all-time hits list. He also has 1,139 extra-base hits after doubling in the third, which is ninth all time. Palmeiro is closing in on Carl Yastrzemski (1,157 hits) for eighth place. Ty Cobb is 10th with 1,136 hits.

Field set for Ripken Series

The 15-team field is set for the 12-year-old 2004 Cal Ripken World Series, which begins Saturday at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen and runs until Aug. 22.

Ten teams representing the United States include two Maryland entries - St. Mary's County and Churchville. They'll be joined by regional champions Kennewick (Wash.), Oahu (Hawaii), Greenwich (Conn.), Pine Bluff (Ark.), Montgomery (N.J.), Lexington (Ky.), Raleigh (N.C.) and St. Cloud (Minn.).

The tournament includes international teams from South Korea, Canada, Australia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

The World Series title game, pitting the winners of the U.S. and International divisions, will be Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. It will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net.

In 1999, Babe Ruth League, Inc. changed the name of its largest division from "Bambino" to "Cal Ripken Baseball."

Around the horn

The Orioles' Sept. 5 game at Yankee Stadium has been moved to 8:05 p.m. to accommodate ESPN. ... The autographed throwback jerseys worn by the Orioles and Rangers are being auctioned online at www.theorioles.com and www.mlb.com until 11:59 p.m. Friday. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Orioles Charitable Foundation.

Tejada in overdrive

Miguel Tejada drove in his 100th run yesterday, two-thirds of the way through the Orioles' season. He is on pace to finish with 150 RBIs, which would break the club record. Top Orioles RBI seasons:

Player RBIs Year

Rafael Palmeiro 142 1996

Jim Gentile 141 1961

Eddie Murray 124 1985

Frank Robinson 122 1966

Boog Powell 121 1969

Rafael Palmeiro 121 1998

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