Unorthodox Frohwirth model of consistency


His first love was basketball, his pitching style is unorthodox, and he is virtually unflappable in the face of adversity.

That's not all that separates Todd Frohwirth from the typical player.

He carries no pretenses when it comes to knowing his place in the Orioles' bullpen. And don't call him the team's closer.

That, he says, is merely a temporary condition that will be remedied once Gregg Olson finds his groove.

"I don't enjoy the role because it means the best pitcher in our bullpen is having a tough week," Frohwirth said.

"I'm not interested in being the closer, unless it was absolutely necessary."

After Olson recorded his sixth save in last night's 12-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals, Frohwirth might be going back to his old role soon. Oates, however, was not ready to reinstate Olson off this game.

Asked whether he would return Olson to the closer role, Oates said, "I don't have an answer for that. We're playing it situation by situation."

Frohwirth has been one of the most consistent performers on the team.

A 30-year-old submariner, he has a 1.29 ERA -- with one save -- in nine games this season. Opponents are hitting .091 against him, and he has allowed only one hit and one earned run in his last 10 2/3 innings.

Not bad for a guy who was released by the down-and-out Philadelphia Phillies three years ago after they had changed his pitching motion from submarine to sidearm. Soon after Frohwirth joined the Orioles in 1991, pitching coach Dick Bosman had him go back to the submarine deliveries. A whole new career was born.

"Bosman helped me mechanically to be a better pitcher," Frohwirth said. "I'm a much, much better pitcher now than I was. If it had not been for him, I would have continued to throw sidearm and not be the best pitcher I can be. I'd be very average."

One of Frohwirth's redeeming qualities is the controlled, quiet demeanor he brings to the mound every time out. Well, almost every time.

There was the memorable temper tantrum he threw last Aug. 19 DTC when he was ejected by umpire Larry Barnett. Frohwirth had just given up a grand slam to the Seattle Mariners' Edgar Martinez -- this after he thought he had struck out Martinez with two sliders that Barnett called balls.

Before leaving the premises, Frohwirth threw the ball, his cap and glove toward home plate.

That episode aside, he never appears rattled. "I think that's who I am," he said. "I don't try to make things up in my personality."

That calm exterior tends to disguise Frohwirth's intense inner drive. He is first and foremost a perfectionist. He is never happy, for instance, if he gets behind in the count, or simply doesn't pitch as well as he thinks he should.

It's a trait that carries over into his off-season job as basketball coach back home in Milwaukee. He coaches the Marquette High junior varsity team, and a team from the seventh and eighth grades at Mother of Good Counsel School.

Study time

Dr. Charles Silberstein, the Orioles' orthopedic specialist, has received a $35,000 grant from major league baseball for a research project at the Bennett Institute.

The study will be done in an effort to determine how a pitcher can use body positioning to put the least amount of stress on the pitching arm.

Silberstein and Dr. Kevin Campbell will build a high-tech mechanical pitching mound to study how pitching affects the legs, hips, knees, trunk and pelvis.

Easy as 1-2-3

When the Orioles hit three triples against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night they tied a team record. It was only the fifth time in club history that they had three triples in a game.

The last time it happened was Sept. 22, 1973. The Orioles clinched their fourth division title that day -- and Al Bumbry set a team record by hitting three triples.

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