Pitcher Liz taking next step at Bowie

Minor leagues

July 24, 2006|By KATIE CARRERA | KATIE CARRERA,SUN REPORTER

Baysox pitching coach Scott McGregor has a philosophy that applies to Radhames Liz: "If it isn't broke, don't fix it."

Despite the Orioles pitching prospect having a mixed showing in his first two starts with Double-A Bowie, the right-hander appears to be on baseball's fast track.

"To get to this level as quickly as he has says something about his competitive nature and his ability to adjust and adapt his pitching," said McGregor, who added that perhaps the biggest thing for Liz is learning how to be consistent with his pitching motion.

Liz earned his promotion to Bowie on July 14 after 83 innings (6-5, 2.82 ERA) and 95 strikeouts this season with Single-A Frederick. After two games with Bowie, Liz is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA.

In his first start, Liz pitched six scoreless innings and allowed only four hits to record his first Double-A victory. During that game against the Binghamton Mets, Liz showed he had more in his pitches in his repertoire than just his 95-mph fastball.

"He was pretty overpowering," McGregor said. "He wasn't just throwing the fastball by them. It was fastball, slider, fastball, slider. For those couple innings it was a big league slider."

Manager Don Werner hadn't seen Liz pitch until he arrived at Bowie. Werner had only heard of the youngster's powerful arm, but was impressed by Liz's control of his fastball and his composure on the mound.

When faced with two Binghamton runners on base and no outs, Liz struck out the next three batters.

"He stayed nice and relaxed and didn't panic like a lot of young guys would do," Werner said.

Liz's most recent start came Friday against the Altoona Curve. He gave up four runs on six hits and struck out five in five innings in the Baysox's 9-2 loss, but said he still felt confident.

"I felt tonight that I had the control of every pitch," said Liz, adding that there isn't a major difference in the hitters he's facing now compared to those in Single-A. "There is no big difference, but Double-A hitters do seem to have a little more discipline."

McGregor said Liz is learning how to be more consistent with his motion and believes Liz will become more polished with time. Warner agreed, calling the hard-working 23-year-old a "manager's dream."

"You can tell by the way he goes about his business he's looking to play in the major leagues," Werner said, "And he's looking to do it the sooner, the better."

katherine.carrera@baltsun.com

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