Keys get more than a hand from Delmarva

Loewen, 3 others bolster rotation for Frederick

Minor league notebook

Baseball

August 23, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

It's becoming quite a challenge for the Orioles to keep Single-A Frederick's pitching staff fully stocked.

The Keys, who had the worst record in the minors during the first half of the season, lost James Johnson to mononucleosis. Don Levinski, who was banished to the bullpen, needs surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder. And these are just the latest subtractions.

So what's a team to do?

How about adding the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft?

Adam Loewen was scheduled to make his Keys debut yesterday after being promoted from low Single-A Delmarva, where he was 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 85 1/3 innings.

Seemingly in a constant battle since spring training to regain his command, Loewen appeared to be finding it more easily just before changing teams. The Orioles saw some encouraging signs.

"He's pitching better," said Doc Rodgers, director of minor league operations. "More than anything, it's his approach. He's pitching aggressively, and that's what we were looking for. With the stuff he has, especially at the lower levels, sometimes you just need to take the ball. He seems to have picked up on that."

The Keys' rotation has a Delmarva flavor to it, with Loewen joining former Shorebirds Chris Ray, Brian Finch and Freddy Deza.

"Pretty soon," Rodgers said, "we'll have the whole rotation from Delmarva there."

Johnson's last appearance came in Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader against Potomac. He ranks ninth in the South Atlantic League with a 3.29 ERA.

Levinski was shut down after pitching on Aug. 7, when he allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Left in a bind at times, the Keys have been forced to rush infielders Mike Done and Gera Alvarez to the mound in emergencies.

Triple-A Ottawa

The Lynx played their longest game this season in Saturday's, 3-2, 14-inning victory over Syracuse. Their bullpen didn't allow a hit to the last 33 batters, and Pedro Swann singled to score Tim Raines Jr. with the decisive run. ... Chad Mottola hit his team-leading 18th homer Friday in an 8-2 loss to Syracuse. John Maine (4-7) allowed five runs and 10 hits in five innings. ... Jack Cust hit his 16th homer Wednesday. ... Rick Bauer got his first win Thursday, allowing two runs in six innings against Scranton.

Double-A Bowie

Walter Young homered twice Wednesday to tie Calvin Pickering's single-season record of 31 set in 1998. ... Three Baysox pitchers combined on a no-hitter Thursday, with David Crouthers (8-8) going the first seven innings in a 2-0 win over Akron. Andy Mitchell and Jacobo Sequea finished up. ... Sequea tied Gabe Molina for most saves in a season with 23. ... Catcher Eli Whiteside hit his 17th homer Friday in a 7-3 win over Altoona.

Single-A Frederick

Finch hasn't won since July 26. He's 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA in his past four starts. ... The Keys needed 14 innings to defeat Myrtle Beach on Saturday, 7-6. ... Frederick played the longest nine-inning game in team history Wednesday in a 12-5 loss to Potomac. It lasted 3 hours, 51 minutes, breaking the old record of 3:43. ... Woody Cliffords hit a walk-off grand slam Tuesday in Game 2 of a doubleheader. Ray tossed seven shutout innings, striking out 10, in Game 1.

Single-A Delmarva

The Shorebirds ran their winning streak to six games Saturday with Brian Bock's ninth-inning single producing a 2-1 victory over Lexington. Delmarva moved a game above .500 in the second half going into yesterday. ... Jeff Fiorentino hit his eighth homer Friday since being promoted from short-season Aberdeen. No. 7 came Wednesday. ... Chris Britton, Mike Patitucci and Marino Salas combined on a one-hitter Tuesday against Greensboro.

Short-season teams

Aberdeen's Arturo Rivas had five hits Saturday, the most ever by an IronBirds player in one game. ... Aberdeen has raided Bluefield's staff for Winer Mendez, Bob McCrory, Ryan Schwabe and Bryan Dumesnil. McCrory, a fourth-round draft pick last year, was tied for the Appalachian League lead with a 1.92 ERA. The IronBirds needed reinforcements because they lost pitchers Luis Ramirez, Dennis Robinson, Kevin Hart (Maryland) and Casey Cahill to Delmarva.

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