Newhan doesn't feel empty as fill-in


Utility role nothing new for Oriole

he gets start in center field vs. Athletics


April 08, 2005|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The surprise pickup of the Orioles' 2004 season, David Newhan played all over the field, served as a designated hitter, batted .311 and endeared himself to the fans with his all-out hustle.

Now, he has to adjust anew to being a reserve, a role he was accustomed to in previous stints with San Diego and Philadelphia.

"I was pretty much a bench guy over there," Newhan said before making his first start of the season last night in center field in place of Luis Matos. "I've been through it before. I know how to handle it. I think the situation is tougher on younger players."

He expects to function as a pinch runner, provide a left-handed bat off the bench, substitute defensively and receive an occasional starting assignment.

"My role is to stay ready and stay healthy," said Newhan, who went 0-for-4 last night. "I have to be set to go when Maz [Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli] tells me to."

Mazzilli had no qualms about inserting Newhan into center, one of the few positions he missed playing last season.

"He was very at ease out there in spring training," Mazzilli said. "He wasn't really tested a lot but he looked comfortable."

Newhan said it matters not whether he is in the everyday lineup or filling in; there is always pressure in the big leagues, especially for someone like him who knocked around the minors for nearly a decade.

"Pressure is all about what people put on themselves," he said. "Nobody ever wants to get embarrassed. It's a pride thing with each one of us. I feel I have to perform every day."

Mazzilli also inserted veteran B.J. Surhoff into left field, replacing Larry Bigbie, against Oakland right-hander Danny Haren.

"I want to make sure I keep the guys sharp," Mazzilli said of Surhoff and Newhan. "They have to get their at-bats, too, and they haven't played really since the exhibition games. They are two guys who played practically every day last year."

He said he likes Newhan in the No. 2 slot and that "puts Jay Gibbons ninth. That looks pretty good. It just changes it up a little bit."

Rough start for Cabrera

Pitching coach Ray Miller said Daniel Cabrera was "trying to be too fine" when he was pounded by the Athletics in his first start.

"And there were a couple of plays we didn't make behind him early."

Around the horn

Pitcher Jay Witasick (C. Milton Wright, UMBC) requested and received his outright release from the Orioles. ... Oakland placed shortstop Bobby Crosby on the 15-day disabled list with a stress fracture of two ribs. ... The Orioles averaged 6,610 fans in 14 spring training home games, the highest in their 10 years at Fort Lauderdale.

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