Liz to aim for accuracy in Norfolk

ORIOLES NOTBOOK

Walker back

July 28, 2008|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

Rather than wait for rookie pitcher Radhames Liz to consistently find the strike zone and work deeper into games, the Orioles will continue his education in the minor leagues.

Liz was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after yesterday's 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels, a move that corresponded with left-hander Jamie Walker coming off the disabled list. Liz went 4-3 with a 7.47 ERA in 10 starts and had gone at least six innings only twice in his past seven outings.

"Liz needs to have better command. He needs to locate better," manager Dave Trembley said. "In all sincerity, he's thought of highly in the organization. He has a great arm. But he's been scuffling, and I'd rather see him get straightened out and get some success in Triple-A and then get himself back here when he's ready. He's out there spinning his wheels right now. He has to locate his fastball better, and he's got to just get some success. He'll be back, and he'll pitch here for a long time."

Liz's next scheduled turn fell on Thursday, when the Orioles had an open date on their schedule, so that slot can be skipped.

"All I have on my mind right now is to go back and work on my breaking pitch and stuff like that, a little bit on my control," Liz said. "I think I didn't use my mind enough maybe, because I've got the stuff to be here. I'm going to be OK. I know I'm going to be OK."

More changes could be coming to the rotation. Left-hander Brian Burres, who got knocked out in the second inning of Friday night's game, was supposed to start Wednesday in New York, but that's no longer a certainty.

"I have not named a starter for Wednesday," Trembley said. "You asked me if it's going to be different than Burres. Right now it is not."

One possibility for the rotation is reliever Dennis Sarfate, who turned in 3 1/3 hitless innings Friday night. No matter what direction they go, the Orioles no longer believe they can stick with the current arrangement.

"The first 50 games we played, I think we had 34 quality starts or something," Trembley said. "The last 54 we played, we had 10, and half of them are from [Jeremy] Guthrie. That's not real good."

Walker tossed a scoreless inning at Single-A Frederick on Saturday night after allowing three runs and five hits in one inning at Double-A Bowie earlier in the week.

"I felt good," he said. "My velocity was there. My off-speed [stuff] was there. No rocket ships this time. I actually got pop-ups. My fastball was down. My changeup had some good sink on it. I finally threw some good curves. No pain today. I'm ready. My arm feels good. My body feels good."

Mora rests leg

The lineup didn't include third baseman Melvin Mora, who was drilled behind the left knee by Darren Oliver's fastball Saturday night and still had some swelling in the area yesterday morning.

Mora was available to pinch hit after running before the game and saying he felt OK.

"Not really 100 percent," he said, "but OK."

Asked whether he would return to the lineup for tonight's game against the New York Yankees, Mora said, "I'll be there."

Second baseman Brian Roberts also didn't play, though apparently not for health reasons. He went 7-for-40 on the homestand.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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