Reliever Sarfate has delay in new delivery

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Father-to-be eagerly awaits arrival of first child, expected last weekend

Notebook

June 15, 2008|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

Each time the bullpen phone rings, Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate isn't sure whether he's about to enter the game or become a father.

Sarfate and his wife, Jada, are supposed to become parents for the first time within the next few days. Jada was due to give birth to a girl last weekend while the Orioles were on the road, but the blessed event never happened.

"Hopefully, we'll get some good news in a couple days, but other than that, I'm just taking it day by day and trying to focus on pitching," he said. "It's kind of hectic, but it's good that we're home and we're having the baby up here. I've been fortunate that I'll be able to go on the next road trip and not worry about having to think about making a flight to come home.

"It would be nice to have my baby girl before Father's Day. That's in the back of my mind."

Sarfate strung together five consecutive scoreless appearances on the last trip before serving up a two-run homer to Boston's Kevin Youkilis on Thursday. Sarfate was pitching in his third straight game.

"I'm not going to say it's been distracting. It's just been in the back of my mind the whole time," he said. "You think about things that could happen during the pregnancy and the delivery. It's been a little bit tough, but I pray about it, and hopefully the best happens. She's a pretty strong girl. Things are going to be all right."

Jada attends most games at Camden Yards, sitting in the family section behind home plate.

"She's a trooper," Sarfate said. "She's trying to walk around a lot and force the issue. She's been good about it. She wants to come to the games and be supportive, but the most important thing is to be all right. I would have been in bed for nine months and complained every day."

Penn progressing

Hayden Penn remains on the seven-day disabled list at Triple-A Norfolk, but he is close to throwing in a simulated game after making it through a series of bullpen sessions.

Penn has been sidelined since May 29 with tightness in his right shoulder that is being blamed on biceps tendinitis. He had to back off from throwing a few times when the discomfort resurfaced, delaying his return to Norfolk's rotation.

"Since then, he's come along well," said David Stockstill, the Orioles' director of player development. "We're getting close to getting him in a game."

The Orioles considered recalling Penn to take Steve Trachsel's place in the rotation, but the injury eliminated him from consideration and they chose Radhames Liz.

Draft update

The Orioles are close to completing deals with second-round draft pick Xavier Avery and fourth-round pick Kyle Hudson. An announcement could be made in the next few days.

Meanwhile, outfielder L.J. Hoes, a third-round pick out of St. John's High in Washington, visited Camden Yards yesterday. He's supposed to join the Gulf Coast League team in Sarasota, Fla., today and play second base.

"It's something that I'm looking forward to," he said. "I grew up playing infield, so it really won't be that big of an adjustment. I think if I work hard and I have the right approach to playing the game every day, I'll learn and make the adjustment."

Hoes passed up a scholarship to North Carolina to sign with the Orioles.

"It would have mattered if it was another team," he said. "It was a tough decision because North Carolina is a great school, but just to be drafted by the Orioles is a great experience for me. I'm a hometown kid. I grew up watching the Orioles. When they drafted me, it was a dream come true."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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