Hoey kept close at hand for call-up

Reliever gets chance for multiple-innings appearances at Bowie

Orioles minor league notebook

May 21, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

The Orioles rushed reliever Jim Hoey to the majors in 2006, making it the last of his four stops in a season that began at low Single-A Delmarva and ended with his being named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

This season, they're content to let him dominate at Double-A Bowie, where he entered yesterday having not surrendered a run in 13 2/3 innings, with eight hits allowed, 21 strikeouts and nine saves.

He could have been promoted to Triple-A Norfolk by now, if not higher, but what's the rush? "We haven't talked about that," said Jim Duquette, vice president of baseball operations. "He's a guy that we can bring from Bowie up here. We've done that plenty of times. So, from our standpoint, it's really about the innings and the workload that he's going to get."

The Orioles want to stretch him out at Bowie, have him throw multiple innings and prove that he can pitch on consecutive days. They're not grooming him to be a closer at this time, not with Chris Ray in the fold. At this point, they'd be happy if Hoey, 24, developed into a seventh- and eighth-inning reliever.

At this point, they'd be happy if he kept getting hitters out, no matter when called upon.

"Kids like that, it's good to get them up and be in a semi setup role, and as they do better, advance them back a little farther," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "It's always best to start a guy in lesser situations, let him be successful and then move him back as we go along. He's done it [closing] in the minor leagues, but it's always a little different in the big leagues."

Hoey appeared in 12 games with the Orioles last season after they purchased his contract from Bowie on Aug. 23, going 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA. He allowed 14 hits, walked five and hit two batters in 9 2/3 innings.

"Obviously, last year we needed to rush some people in. We couldn't get enough of them," Perlozzo said. "He had one of the best arms we had in the minor leagues. When he came up, the label was a good, hard fastball and a knockout slider. But he got rushed up here and tried to overthrow a little."

Triple-A Norfolk

Jon Knott came off the disabled list and homered Saturday night. ... J.R. House drove in five runs Friday night, giving him a team-leading 27 RBIs. He has 15 multi-hit games in Norfolk's first 41 and began yesterday batting .375. ... Second baseman Eider Torres ranked fourth in the International League with 10 steals. He's finding it easier to swipe bases when he reaches them. Torres was hitting .290 this month, compared with .217 in April. ... Garrett Olson gets most of the attention, but two other starters bear watching. Rob Bell is 1-1 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts, holding opponents to a .202 average, and Jim Johnson allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his seven starts before yesterday.

Double-A Bowie

It seems forever since Val Majewski was in the majors, and now he's trying to make the return climb from the Eastern League. Majewski, slowed in the past by injuries, hit .421 in a five-game stretch last week. He also led the Baysox with 21 runs scored. ... Outfielder Nolan Reimold went back on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle.

Single-A Frederick

Blake Davis looks like a pretty smart pick in the fourth round of last year's draft. The Cal State-Fullerton shortstop entered the weekend leading the Carolina League with a .326 average and ranked second with 15 doubles and fourth with 43 hits. He reached base in 34 of 35 games after a ninth-inning single on Friday. His average hasn't sunk below .300 since April 20. ... David Hernandez struck out eight batters Friday, raising his season total to 50. He's walked only 13 in 47 innings.

Single-A Delmarva

First baseman Chris Vinyard entered the weekend leading the South Atlantic League with 40 RBIs, including two Friday. He led the club with eight homers. Before Friday, Vinyard was batting .409 (5-for-12) with 12 RBIs with runners in scoring position and two outs. ... Former catcher Brandon Snyder, the first-round pick in 2005 who moved to first base after rotator cuff surgery, was hitting .353 (12-for-34) with two homers and eight RBIs in nine games before Saturday.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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