Cabrera looks to bounce back

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Trying `too hard,' pitcher to make first start since 7-walk disaster

April 12, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A little more than 15 hours after the worst start of his professional career had ended, pitcher Daniel Cabrera stepped onto the field at quiet Oriole Park at Camden Yards and began doing sprints.

Later that day, Cabrera was in the home clubhouse joking with his teammates, who were set to face the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the series. If his disastrous 2006 debut on April 7, when he gave up seven runs on three hits and seven walks while getting just four outs against Boston, has rattled the confidence or the mood of the 24-year-old, it hasn't shown.

Cabrera will make his first start tonight against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays since the brutal outing, and Orioles officials remain convinced that the start was simply a bump in the road for Cabrera, not something that they should be overly concerned about.

Pitching coach Leo Mazzone said he wasn't worried about Cabrera's confidence.

"If he throws more strikes, he'll be good," Mazzone said. "I basically low-balled the [heck] out of him. We never even talked about his last start. I just said, `Let's get ready for the next one.' I am just impressed by him, period. I didn't notice him doing anything different after the start."

Cabrera said after the game that he felt his mechanics were out of whack and that led to his control problems. He has spent the days since his last start working with Mazzone, but the pitching coach feels that what ails Cabrera is more mental than physical.

"He just tries too hard sometimes," Mazzone said. "That's all. His mechanics look pretty good to me. He's just too hard on himself sometimes."

Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo has talked to Cabrera several times about controlling his emotions on the mound. He's eager to see the results tonight.

"I think pretty much that particular day, he was just a little over-keyed up trying to do so well, that he was overthrowing. You can call it mechanics, but I just think he was keyed up," Perlozzo said. " ... He needs to forget about being great, just go out and pitch well."

Newhan gets call again

When Perlozzo spoke to David Newhan before last Friday's game against the Red Sox, he urged the utility man to be patient, to keep working hard, and the at-bats would come. Newhan just didn't know how many opportunities he'd get.

Newhan, who got his first start of the season Sunday, was in the Orioles' lineup last night for the third consecutive day. Perlozzo, who has called finding at-bats for his many outfielders "the toughest thing I do every day," has vowed to go with the hot hand, and that has been Newhan lately.

With RBI singles in the third and fourth innings last night, he is hitting .333 with a home run, six RBIs, five runs and two stolen bases in just 19 plate appearances.

"The bat talks," Newhan said. "It speaks English, Spanish or whatever language you want to put it. That goes for all of us. It's an advantage for the team to be able to go with the hot hand."

Williams getting closer

Reliever Todd Williams, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf muscle, is scheduled to throw live batting practice today in Sarasota, Fla., and if all goes well, he could go on a rehabilitation assignment soon.

Williams didn't face live hitters this spring, shelved first because of a sore right shoulder and then because of calf soreness. Perlozzo got positive reports on a 40-pitch side session Williams threw Sunday, but neither he nor club vice president Jim Duquette is sure when the right-hander will be able to rejoin the team. Perlozzo would like him to throw on consecutive days first.

"The good news is you don't have to stretch him out," Duquette said. "He's a one- or two-inning guy."

Morris sent down; Britton called up

After last night's game, the Orioles optioned reliever Cory Morris to Triple-A Ottawa and called up reliever Chris Britton, who was at Double-A Bowie. Morris, who was recalled by the team Sunday, didn't see any playing time for the Orioles.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.