Keys' Bascom not letting injuries keep him down

Orioles Minor League Notebook

June 23, 2008|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun reporter

Frederick Keys right-hander Tim Bascom, 23, is already something of a baseball miracle.

He pitched his junior season at Central Florida with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and went 5-6 with a 2.48 ERA in 80 innings while striking out 90 and walking 25.

"It was pretty shocking," said Bascom, who was a preseason third-team All-America choice that year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball News.

"It was a misdiagnosis. They told me it was just a knee contusion, a little bruise on the knee. I knew something was wrong. If I had known it was a torn ACL, I probably wouldn't have played. It was kind of interesting to find out it was a torn ACL all the time."

Bascom discovered the knee injury when he failed a physical after the San Diego Padres drafted him in the sixth round in 2006. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound player from Dunedin, Fla., had knee surgery to repair the ACL and tried to return to college for his senior year but was ineligible because he hired an agent.

The Orioles drafted Bascom in the fourth round in 2007, behind switch-hitting catcher Matt Wieters, who was a No. 5 choice in the first round.

After Bascom went 4-3 with a 3.68 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings at Delmarva and high Single-A Frederick last season, there were high hopes for him entering spring training this season. But an oblique strain in spring training put him on the disabled list and rehabbing in Florida until May 22.

When Bascom finally joined the Keys, he had some mixed reviews until Wednesday night, when he retired the last 11 batters he faced. In his first six starts at Frederick, Bascom is 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA in 30 innings with 21 strikeouts and 18 walks.

Triple-A Norfolk

If you're wondering why the Tides were 28-47 and 12 games behind the first-place Durham Bulls in the International League South through Saturday's games, there have been 14 player transactions between Baltimore and Norfolk since the season started.

Probably the most successful move came April 29, when left-hander Garrett Olson, 24, was called up to the Orioles. He is 5-3 with a 5.01 ERA, 38 strikeouts and 21 walks in 59 1/3 innings after yesterday's start against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Oscar Salazar was a close second in just 12 days with the Orioles since getting a call in Norfolk to come to Baltimore. The third baseman-turned-first baseman with the Orioles had two home runs, a double, four RBIs, and .786 slugging percentage while hitting .286 in his first 14 at-bats through Saturday night's game.

Double-A Bowie

There is growing speculation around the Carolina League that celebrated Keys catcher Wieters will move up from Single-A Frederick to the Baysox after Tuesday night's league All-Star Game.

Through Saturday's games, Wieters was hitting .342, with 14 home runs, 38 RBIs, seven doubles, a .580 slugging percentage, and a .445 on-base percentage.

Single-A Delmarva

Right-hander Luis Noel, 20, pitched his most impressive game of the season for the Shorebirds last week and picked up a 5-1 victory over Lakewood.

Noel went seven strong innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out 10 and walking none. He is 7-1 and had a 2.77 ERA through Saturday.

Single-A Aberdeen

The short-season IronBirds opened the season Tuesday night with a 13-7 victory over the host Hudson Valley Renegades that featured a first-inning, two-out grand slam by T.J. Baxter.

Three pitchers combined for the first one-hitter in team history in the second game of the season, a 4-0 victory over Hudson Valley. Chris Salberg went six hitless innings, Joe Esposito gave up one hit in two innings, and Brandon Cooney allowed no hits in one inning.

Then the IronBirds lost two in a row, including the home opener, 3-2, to the Brooklyn Cyclones before the largest Opening Night crowd in the team's seven-year history Friday night.

william.free@baltsun.com

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