Packing up anger, Bauer rejoins club

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Mellowed by Triple-A, pitcher is glad to be back

Young homers to the end

Notebook

September 08, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Just two months after publicly questioning his future with the Orioles after they sent him down to the minors for the third time this season, pitcher Rick Bauer returned to the team yesterday with a far different attitude.

Recalled on Monday from Triple-A Ottawa after the Lynx's season ended, Bauer said he gained a new perspective from the time spent out of the major leagues.

"It's the happiest I've been to be back," said Bauer, who was 3-5 with a 4.00 ERA for the Lynx, but went 3-1 with a 2.34 ERA in his past five starts. "You definitely appreciate a lot more being down so long in Triple-A. You don't ever want to be down. I'm glad I was able to figure it out and pitch well enough for them to give me another chance."

Bauer was 1-0 with a 6.11 ERA in 18 appearances with the Orioles when he was demoted on July 7 after he allowed an unearned run and two hits in two-thirds of an inning in a 13-3 loss to Tampa Bay.

Following the game, Bauer met with Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli, executive vice president Jim Beattie and director of baseball administration Ed Kenney and was told that the team wanted to keep 12 pitchers instead of 13, and that the other members of the staff had out-pitched him.

An angry Bauer emerged from the meeting and left some parting shots with the media.

"They said I'm the 13th guy, that I can't pitch for this team," he said. "They didn't think I could pitch here at all and they're trying to get rid of me. ... I'm getting to the point where I really don't care anymore."

Three days later, Bauer called Beattie to clear the air and reaffirm his desire to stay with the Orioles. He also admitted that he misunderstood what was said in that meeting.

"I overreacted to the situation and that's why I took the initiative to make the phone call to straighten things out," he said yesterday. "It's water under the bridge as far as I'm concerned. I just have to keep things simple - just go out and pitch."

Mazzilli said that Bauer will be used mostly in long relief, but could be called on for some short situations.

"He threw well down [in Ottawa]," Mazzilli said. "Good control, he worked on his offspeed stuff. It was good for him to get some innings."

Young finishes strong

Double-A Bowie first baseman Walter Young, the organizational Player of the Month for August, hit his 33rd home run of the season in the Baysox's final game on Monday.

He became the 19th minor leaguer in the Orioles' 51 seasons to hit 30 or more homers in a season. His 33 homers also broke the Bowie record of 31, set by Calvin Pickering.

The Orioles didn't see any benefit to extending Young's season by calling him up.

"He'll never have to play Double-A again," said Doc Rodgers, director of minor league operations for the Orioles. "He did everything he needed to do. He just had a fantastic year."

Rodriguez back

The Orioles recalled right-handed reliever Eddy Rodriguez from Ottawa. After spending three months with the Orioles, Rodriguez went 1-0 with the Lynx with three saves and a 5.12 ERA.

"He did a good job for us and he deserved to come back," Mazzilli said.

Loewen update

Adam Loewen, the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft, will have his left shoulder examined today by team doctors after being scratched from his last start at Single-A Frederick.

He is still expected to report to the Arizona Fall League at the end of this month.

Sun staff writer Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

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