Power just one part of Young's game

Chasing Bowie record for homers in a season, he's `got some athleticism'

Notebook

Minor League Baseball

August 16, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

It's just a matter of time for Walter Young.

Sometime soon, he's expected to pass Calvin Pickering for the most home runs hit in a season with Double-A Bowie. Pickering totaled 31 in 1998. After homering yesterday, Young needs four to establish a record.

Young, 24, became the Orioles' top long-ball prospect once they claimed him off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates in November, but he's showing signs of being more than just another power-hungry slugger with a large appetite for homers and pastries.

Don't be fooled by the 6-foot-5, 305-pound frame.

"He can hit the ball out anywhere in the park, so he's not just a pull hitter," said Doc Rodgers, director of minor league operations. "And he's had some really good at-bats late in games, where he worked the count, drew walks, got good pitches to hit. That's important if you want to play in the major leagues. He's got a solid approach to hitting."

Young was batting .266 in 113 games going into the weekend. He had a .522 slugging percentage, but also struck out 125 times in 418 at-bats and committed nine errors at first base.

"The other aspects of Walter's game, defense and base running, we continue to work on. But he's better than we thought," Rodgers said.

"It's an old clichM-i, but he moves around pretty good for a big guy. If there's a single to left field, he's going to score from second base. He's got some athleticism."

Because Young, who has 83 RBIs to go with his 28 homers, hadn't played above Single-A until this season, the Orioles don't have any immediate plans to promote him to Triple-A Ottawa this season.

"We don't want him to take a step back," Rodgers said. "There's nothing wrong with having a very solid year at Double-A and then graduating to Triple-A [next year] and knowing you're one step away from the majors."

As a means of accelerating his development, the Orioles want Young to play for a winter league team. They're in the process of trying to find a suitable match.

"We know he's interested," Rodgers said, "and we'd like to see him continue to develop and face the kind of pitching he's going to see as he moves up."

Triple-A Ottawa

Aaron Rakers came off the disabled list over the weekend and gave up the winning run, which was unearned, in Saturday's 2-1 loss to Buffalo. ... Rick Bauer held Buffalo to one run over seven innings Saturday, striking out six. ... Catcher Geronimo Gil homered twice in Game 1 of Friday's doubleheader, and had a double in Game 2. ... Matt Riley struck out seven over four innings in Game 1. He allowed two runs and two hits. ... Bruce Chen threw seven scoreless innings Thursday against Rochester.

Double-A Bowie

David Crouthers (7-8) held Harrisburg to one run over six innings Saturday, but the Baysox were shut out. ... Left-hander Brian Forystek was pounded for six runs and 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings in Friday's 7-6 loss to Harrisburg. ... Robert Averette was scratched from Wednesday's start with a sore arm.

Single-A Frederick

The Keys put together their first four-game winning streak this season. ... Pitcher Freddy Deza was promoted to Frederick from low Single-A Delmarva. ... David Segui, on an injury rehab assignment, and Doug Gredvig homered in the eighth inning Friday to give Frederick a 3-1 victory over Winston-Salem. ... Tony Neal, chosen in the 20th round of the 2003 draft out of South Alabama, picked up his 13th save Friday. ... Tripper Johnson, a supplemental pick in 2000, hit his 20th home run Wednesday.

Single-A Delmarva

Pitcher Luis Ramirez joined the Shorebirds from short-season Aberdeen. ... Bryan Bass, a supplemental pick in 2001, homered twice and drove in seven runs Friday in an 11-7 win over Asheville. ... Zach Dixon won for the first time since June 18. ... Jeff Fiorentino, a third-round selection this year out of Florida Atlantic, hasn't slowed since moving up from Aberdeen. He hit his sixth homer last week.

Short-season Aberdeen

Kurt Ainsworth has allowed one earned run and two hits in 6 2/3 innings over two injury rehab starts at Aberdeen. He's walked three and struck out eight. ... Kevin Hart, chosen in the 11th round out of Maryland, notched his first professional save Tuesday and tossed three hitless innings against Staten Island on Saturday. ... The IronBirds were trailing Williamsport 2-0 with two outs in the ninth inning before rallying to win in the 10th. Baltimore native Mike Costello tied the score with a two-run double, and Arturo Rivas singled in the 10th to win it. ... Rafael Diaz hit .345 in 17 games.

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