Caught in throes of a slump


R. Hernandez's struggles continue with bat and throwing arm

June 03, 2008|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

Before the season began, Orioles manager Dave Trembley predicted that catcher Ramon Hernandez would make a huge comeback from a disappointing, injury-marred 2007 season. So far, Trembley doesn't look as if he will be headlining a Vegas act.

Hernandez is hitting .218 after going 0-for-3 last night. He has collected hits in seven of his past 11 games, but his average hasn't risen above .229 in that span.

"I'm not thinking about that right now," he said. "I told myself, every time I step to the plate, I need to have a good at-bat. If I try to think about it, I'm going to end up missing my pitch. I just want to have fun with my teammates and try to help the team I play with. If I go 0-for-4, you know what? I have to go behind the plate and catch the best game I can."

There's the hitch: Hernandez has thrown out nine of 53 (17 percent) runners attempting to steal.

"There's always room for improvement, and I would expect as the season goes on, that detail will be addressed and improvement will be shown," Trembley said. "Ramon has the capability and is a much better player than he has played to date."

Asked whether he is considered giving backup Guillermo Quiroz more starts, Trembley said, "Consider is an understatement. I'm all for what's best for the team. But I think you have to give respect to the veteran guys who have been here and played for a long time, and I think you have to go the extra mile before you go to that measure. But once you go to that measure, I think you communicate that to all concerned parties."

Liz to start tonight

The Orioles recalled Radhames Liz from Triple-A Norfolk to make tonight's start in Minnesota. They also designated infielder Luis Hernandez for assignment.

Liz was 1-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 11 starts for the Tides. With the Orioles last season, Liz went 0-2 with a 6.93 ERA in nine appearances, including four starts.

Hernandez, the Opening Day shortstop, was batting .241 in 36 games.

Meanwhile, Steve Trachsel has been told that he's staying in the bullpen.

"He showed enough [Sunday] where I see some value, that he could help the club," Trembley said.

Around the horn

Adam Loewen (left elbow) threw live batting practice yesterday and is scheduled to pitch an inning at extended spring training Thursday before going on an injury rehabilitation assignment. ... Trembley said he is going to implement some base-running drills to eliminate mistakes.

Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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