Voigt would trade statistics for better Rochester record

THE BALTIMORE SUN

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Jack Voigt leads the Red Wings with a career-high 13 home runs and a .291 average, and is third with 37 RBI -- the makings of a pretty good season.

But these are the numbers that matter to Voigt: Rochester's 32-53 record and 20 losses in 23 games going into Friday night in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"When your team loses, it really takes the edge off how well you're doing," the outfielder said. "I would love to hit .300. But if I hit .250 . . . [and] we were 10 games over .500 and in first place, I would enjoy it better."

Voigt, who began the season as a part-time player, worked his way into the everyday lineup by being one of the few Red Wings who has been consistent and shown a desire to be at the plate in key situations.

The longest he has gone without a hit is five games. He has hit in 26 of his past 34 games to raise his average from .262. He has hit seven homers and driven in 22 RBI over than span.

With the Red Wings 10 games out of a playoff spot and 18 games out of first, salary-drive time will soon replace pennant fever among the players and fans.

For Voigt, the game has not lost its team concept.

"For me to make it to the big league, I'll have to do the team things," he said.

"I have to show I can be consistent at the plate, sacrifice."

The closest Voigt, 26, came to the majors was 1990, when he was called to Memorial Stadium, but never activated.

After that season, he underwent the second operation on his right shoulder, and used last year as a rehabilitation season. He batted .270 with six homers and 35 RBI in 83 games at Rochester after batting .244 with six RBI in 29 games at Hagerstown.

After spending three days a week, four hours each day lifting weights this past off-season, Voigt said he has regained the power he had his rookie season in 1987, when he hit 11 homers for Newark in the New York-Penn League.

"It's been one of my main goals to forget about the past and try to improve on this year," Voigt said. "I have to reopen some eyes in Baltimore and say, 'I'm still here, I can still play, I'm going to help the organization.' "

* Left-hander Pat Leinen told the Orioles on Thursday he was going to retire after they sent him to Hagerstown. Leinen (3-4, one save, 5.86 ERA).

Opponents batted .329 against Leinen, and he had not won since June 14. "I think he lost his confidence at Triple-A," Orioles assistant general manager Doug Melvin said.

Leinen had the fifth-best ERA (3.03) in the Eastern League last season.

Melvin said he suggested Leinen, 25, finish the season, then make his career decision.

"I wasn't going to try to convince him he's got an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues," Melvin said. "He felt there were too many people ahead of him."

Left-hander John O'Donoghue, who replaced Leinen, was scheduled to start this weekend in Syracuse.

* Manager Jerry Narron said he sent Paul Carey back to Hagerstown because he didn't get an opportunity to play in Rochester, and he demoted Scott Meadows because he had wasted his chance.

bTC Carey had 87 at-bats with the Red Wings in more than a month. "He's young, he's inexperienced, he needs to play," Narron said.

Meadows had 215 at-bats, but drove in only nine runs. "Hitting him in the middle of the order most of the year, we counted on him to drive in runs," Narron said. "He just hasn't done it."

The right-handed batting Meadows drove in 42 runs in 249 at-bats last year in Rochester, and 75 in 1990 for Narron in Hagerstown.

"There's no question he's changed," the manager said.

"He's trying to hit everything to right field. He's not driving the ball atall."

Mel Wearing, Meadows' replacement, hit run-scoring doubles in each of his first two games.

* The Red Wings current losing streak is the worst in at least a decade.

The 1985 team went 6-19, and later 5-14 and finished 58-81. The '84 team endured a 1-14 stretch on the way to a 52-88 record and last place finish. The Red Wings 3-20 slide has given them the worst record in Triple-A.

HAGERSTOWN -- The Suns are making a move in the standings at the same time their players are moving in and out of town.

With a 7-1 start in July, their best ever in any month as a Double-A team, the Suns have deserted last place in the Eastern League and are now within striking distance of fourth and a playoff spot.

Simultaneously, they have lost pitcher John O'Donoghue, the league's player of the month for June, to Rochester and gained pitcher Stacy Jones from Frederick.

Earlier, infielder Mel Wearing and pitcher David Miller went to the Red Wings and first baseman Paul Carey and outfielder Scott Meadows returned to Hagerstown.

O'Donoghue, 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings last month, will miss the Eastern League All-Star Game tomorrow in Charlotte, N.C., as a result of the shift.

He will be replaced by pitcher Jeff Williams (4-4, 3.36 ERA).

MISCELLANEOUS: Jones' first start for the Suns was a winning one, a 7-3 decision over London. He went 7 2/3 innings and allowed three runs and four hits. . . . The Suns absorbed their worst Double-A defeat, 17-2 to London, when they walked 15 batters, 10 by starter Chuck Ricci. . . . SS Manny Alexander hasn't played in three games after getting hit on the wrist by a pitch and is listed day-to-day. But he is expected to make the All-Star Game. . . . The Suns hit only 19 homers in their first 87 games and have been out-homered at home, 22-5. . . . Brad Tyler had an eight-game hitting streak in which he batted .462 and stole five bases. . . . The team's 118 steals lead the league and it had 24 in its last 11 games. Damon Buford was second in the league with 38 swipes. . . . Suns catchers have thrown out 46 of 107 would-be base stealers with Cesar Devarez leading the way with 32 of 73 caught.

Kent Baker

Keys' bullpen on a roll

FREDERICK

FREDERICK -- The season has not been kind to the Keys' bullpen overall, but lately it has been a driving force during a surge in the standings.

With the team winning nine of 11 games, four relievers, Joe Borowski, Jim Dedrick, Dave Paveloff and Brian Sackinsky, combined for a 3-0 record and six saves.

In 30 2/3 innings, they allowed only 20 hits and six earned runs (1.76 ERA) while striking out 38 batters. They issued 13 walks, 11 of those by the sometimes erratic Borowski.

The streak enabled the Keys to climb above .500 for the first time in the second half of the Carolina League season after a 2-8 start.

Borowski, who struck out 19 in 10 innings, blew the only save during the 11-game period, but the team eventually won the game.

MISCELLANEOUS: Stanton Cameron equaled Ken Shamburg's Keys career record with his 14th home run last week and extended his own season record. Six of his nine hits in the week were for extra bases. . . . Jose Millares homered three times in an 11-game span after hitting only two homers in his first 69 games. . . . Brad Seitzer took over the team lead with 43 runs batted in after getting nine RBI in 11 games. . . . Sackinsky, the second draft choice of the Orioles this year, replaced Stacy Jones on the roster. He went 1 2/3 innings in his debut, allowing two hits and striking out two. . . . Attendance set an all-time team record with 8,901 for a fireworks show a week ago and is climbing rapidly. The Keys have risen above 4,000 fans per game. . . . Jason Alstead is not expected back until next month because of a chipped left elbow. . . . Borowski had consecutive relief appearances in which he fanned seven batters.

Kent Baker

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