Though it's June, it feels like spring training for pitcher Poole
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The calendar says June, but Jim Poole's left arm says February.
And Poole is pitching in his personal spring training to make the Orioles.
"They've got a full roster, and the team has done very well," said Poole, who has less than a week remaining on his rehabilitation assignment. "They have to make a decision whether it's worthwhile to put me on the roster."
Poole, 3-2 with a 2.00 ERA for the Orioles last season, can be optioned to the Rochester Red Wings, who have a vacancy on their 23-man roster. "It's my job to show them they shouldn't want to do that," he said.
Poole, recovering from tendinitis in his rotator cuff, recorded saves in his first two appearances for the Red Wings, then gave up four runs without recording an out and took the loss in his third game.
"A lot of this is my spring training," he said. "I'm still trying to mess with my stuff, get my breaking ball a little sharper, like everyone does in spring training. There's a little more pressure on me to succeed."
Red Wings pitching coach Steve Luebber said Poole is down from 81-82 mph to 78-80 mph, but said that still can be effective against major-league hitters.
Poole said he is still throws a fastball, breaking ball and change-up, but is trying to add new wrinkles to each.
"Part of it was out of necessity when I started throwing," Poole said. "I didn't know what kind of stuff I'd have."
Poole has had enough stuff and a strong enough arm to throw more than 30 pitches on several occasions and more than 40 at least once.
* Ken Shamburg, who had not played in six games and had sat out 11 of the Red Wings past 14, went 4-for-5 with a grand slam in a 14-5 victory over Toledo Wednesday.
The performance raised Shamburg's average from .179 to .200, and marked his first home run since May 13.
"It was my own fault," Shamburg said of losing job as regular first baseman. "Jerry has to do what he has to do."
MISCELLANEOUS: Jack Voigt hit two homers in the Wednesday rout and one in Thursday's 10-5 loss to Columbus. . . . Luis Mercedes extended his hitting streak to 12 games. . . . Mark Parent's streak ended at nine. . . . Right-hander Jim Lewis has allowed 14 of 15 inherited runners to score. . . . Right-hander Daryl Moore has not allowed a run in five appearances, a total of six innings. . . . Anthony Telford has gone five games without a decision, stalling his record at 5-2. Three of the no-decisions ended up being one-run games, and he left with a 2-0 lead in his last start. . . . Arthur Rhodes leads the league with 92 strikeouts. HAGERSTOWN -- In a dreary season for the Suns, Kip Yaughn has been a ray of sunshine.
The right-hander from Concord, Calif., had half of the team's six victories this month entering the weekend, leads the Eastern League with four complete games and has a league-leading 92 strikeouts in 100 1/3 innings pitched.
Yaughn has been strikingly consistent.
Only once -- in his first start of the season -- did he fail to pitch into the sixth inning in 14 outings, and he has captured four of his last five decisions.
He has walked just 26 batters, struck out seven or more 10 times and has a 7-4 overall record and a 2.42 ERA.
When the Carolina League All-Star Game is played July 13 in Charlotte, he is expected to be the last-place Suns' representative.
MISCELLANEOUS: C Cesar Devares, noted mostly for his strong throwing arm this year, is suddenly coming on at the plate. A 12-for-28 spurt in 10 games raised his average from .188 to .234. Included was a four-hit game, the fourth by a Sun this year. . . . Troy Tallman has arrived from Kane County to buttress the catching staff with Mike Lehman on the disabled list with rotator cuff problems. . . . 2B Brad Tyler has played well defensively since his promotion from Frederick with a string of 49 errorless chances. . . . The decision not to continue Double-A baseball and the poor showing in the standings have reduced attendance. The Suns have drawn 53,488 in 34 dates, more than 30,000 behind the same period in 1991. . . . With two outs, Sun opponents have scored 111 runs, roughly 43 percent of their 262 total. . . . Greg Roth got his first hit on the road after an 0-for-24 skid.
Jones finds key on mound with Keys
FREDERICK -- Stacy Jones is getting on track with the Keys.
After a rocky first two outings in which he allowed eight runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings pitched -- including home runs to consecutive batters -- Jones has been sensational in his last two starts.
While pitching a total of 11 innings against the Durham Bulls and Salem Bucs under an 85-pitch limitation in each game, Jones has been nicked for only one run. He struck out 13 in six innings against Durham.
Jones worked in five games for the Orioles last season without a decision. He struck out 10 in 11 innings and had a 4.09 ERA.
But the 6-5 right-hander started this season at extended spring training with shoulder miseries and is just now rounding into form.
Overall with the Keys, he is 1-0 with a 5.02 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 14 innings.
MISCELLANEOUS: The team finished the Carolina League's first half with a 35-34 record and four straight losses. But attendance improved with the weather. The Keys drew more than 6,200 on their final Tuesday of the first half, the best Tuesday in team history. After 32 openings, they had attracted 115,281 fans. . . . The Keys long rumored but frequently denied mascot was unveiled Saturday night. . . . T.R. Lewis batted .373 in his first 15 games while trying to fill the void created by Paul Carey's departure. He had two homers and six RBI. . . . Stanton Cameron led the lead in the power department in the first half with 11 homers and 35 RBI. . . . Jason Alstead topped the club with 11 stolen bases, but was caught 10 times. . . . Terry Farrar was among the league leaders with 96 2/3 innings pitched, four complete games and 76 strikeouts.