Gang of 6 in bullpen gives Oates group rate on relief insurance


BOSTON -- The Baltimore Orioles are beginning to have fu again, particularly the six guys in the bullpen who have been so instrumental in the club's recent resurgence.

"Just call us the dirty half-dozen," said left-hander Kevin Hickey, the winning pitcher in yesterday's 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The phone has been ringing a lot in the Orioles bullpen since manager John Oates added a sixth pitcher. He used four relievers yesterday -- Hickey, Todd Frohwirth, Mike Flanagan and Gregg Olson -- leaving only Mark Williamson and Paul Kilgus unused. He used four in the same inning in Thursday night's victory.

Hickey came on in relief of right-hander Bob Milacki in the sixth inning with two out and two runners on. He got Mike Greenwell to line out to left field to end the inning and got credit for the victory after Mike Devereaux hit a tie-breaking home run in the top of the seventh.

It was Hickey's first victory in more than a year. He last came out on the right end of a decision on May 4, 1990, defeating the Seattle Mariners. Just a couple of weeks ago, he was with the Class AA Hagerstown Suns, wondering whether he would get a chance at another major-league decision.

"To be perfectly honest, I didn't think so," he said.

Side-armer Frohwirth just came back from the minor leagues, too, and turned in his fourth consecutive scoreless appearance yesterday. He has worked four times in his first five days with the club.

He pitched to six batters and did not give up a hit. The only runner to reach base got there on a third-strike passed ball.

"It's good to get out there," Frohwirth said. "My first couple of times up with the Phillies, I just sat around. It's not only more fun, but it gives you more confidence that you can pitch up here. I couldn't be happier."

Frohwirth was up with Philadelphia for parts of four seasons and appeared in 72 National League games, but he did not make much of an impression on the Orioles this spring. He pitched well for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, however, and earned the chance to be the sixth man in the bullpen.

Milligan sits

First baseman Randy Milligan was not in the starting lineup for yesterday's game. He jammed his right ankle in Friday night's game and aggravated the sprain that has hampered him since the first game of the exhibition season.

Bautista on loan to Rangers

Right-hander Jose Bautista was outrighted back to Rochester from the Class A Miami Miracle, then was sent on loan to the Class AAA Oklahoma City 89ers of the Texas Rangers organization Friday.

The Rangers have a shortage of minor-league pitching depth and needed a right-hander to fill out the Class AAA roster.

It is not unusual for an organization to lend a minor-league player to another organization, especially if the club doing the lending needs a roster opening, but Bautista already was on loan to the Miracle, the unaffiliated club run by Mike Veeck.

Rivera out indefinitely

Red Sox shortstop Luis Rivera, who jammed his shoulder diving into first base Thursday night, still was sore two days after the incident.

The Red Sox expect to be without Rivera for up to a week, leaving former Oriole Mike Brumley to play shortstop.

"If it's longer than that," general manager Lou Gorman told The Boston Globe, "we'll look elsewhere. But we should be all right for the time being."

Rivera will be missed. He was off to a solid start at the plate, batting .274 with three home runs and 15 RBI.

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