Scouting director's firing likely

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Source: DeMacio won't be renewed after season

Bauer is on fast track up

Notebook

September 17, 2004|By Joe Christensen and Roch Kubatko | Joe Christensen and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

TORONTO - Tony DeMacio will likely be out as Orioles scouting director at season's end, a high-ranking team official said yesterday, confirming what several industry sources have speculated for months.

DeMacio, who has held the position for six years, was renewed with a one-year contract last fall, and the club source said, the Orioles will likely look for a replacement when it expires.

Orioles vice president Mike Flanagan insisted that DeMacio's status has yet to be determined. "Nothing's been finalized as of yet," Flanagan said. "Those decisions are for late September, early October."

DeMacio declined to comment last night.

During his tenure, the Orioles have had mixed results with the June amateur draft, catching a string of bad luck with high-round pitchers coming down with arm injuries. The list includes 2002 first-round pick Adam Loewen, who signed a $4 million contract last year, Beau Hale, Richard Stahl, Chris Smith and Josh Cenate.

DeMacio oversaw the 1999 draft, when the Orioles had seven of the first 50 picks. Of the players they selected that year, five have reached the majors: Brian Roberts, Larry Bigbie, Erik Bedard, Aaron Rakers and Willie Harris, who was traded to the Chicago White Sox.

The Orioles plucked Bedard in the sixth round and grabbed John Maine in the sixth round in 2002. Maine has emerged as their top pitching prospect.

But by this year's draft, it was clear the Orioles had lost confidence in DeMacio. According to multiple industry sources, DeMacio and his scouts felt the organization should draft high school shortstop Chris Nelson with the eighth overall pick, but owner Peter Angelos overruled that decision, urging the club to take a college pitcher.

The Orioles drafted Rice University's Wade Townsend but failed to sign him before he enrolled in classes last month. According to an industry source, the team offered Townsend about $2 million, but he was asking for closer to $3 million.

Townsend officially renounced his college eligibility by hiring agent Casey Close, and the commissioner's office is debating whether the Orioles still hold his rights.

There's also been speculation that the Orioles may look to replace minor league director Darrell "Doc" Rodgers, but he has one year remaining on his contract, and all signs point toward the club retaining him.

DeMacio's pending departure could lead to an exodus of scouts. Shawn Pender, the Orioles' national cross-checker, recently accepted a job as the head coach at Saint Joseph's University.

Bauer rediscovers fastball

Reliever Rick Bauer credits a simple adjustment for the results he's achieved since returning from Triple-A Ottawa. To stop being cold, he turned up the heat.

"I'm throwing more fastballs," he said. "I got sick and tired of throwing breaking balls. My fastball's my better pitch. I'm challenging guys and getting ahead."

Bauer has allowed one run over seven innings in his two appearances since the recall.

"His ball's moving more, sinking more," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "I like what I've seen since he's come back."

Bauer never wanted to go down, and he vented at his locker when the Orioles optioned him for a second time on July 7. In 11 starts for the Lynx, he went 3-5 with a 4.00 ERA, 19 walks and 42 strikeouts in 63 innings.

"I got a lot more work down there and got in a little bit better of a rhythm," he said. "It gave me a chance to work on my location, and locating my fastball. I used the time I was down there as well as I could."

Maybe the shuttle has stopped, but Bauer has one more minor league option remaining. Are his Triple-A days finally behind him?

"That's what you guys [reporters] ask me every time," he said. "If I pitch good, I won't go down, and if I don't, I probably will. If I scuffle, I'm sure they'll make the decisions they have to make."

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