Miller gives Baysox power punch
In his first at-bat of the season, Brent Miller hit a home run off the scoreboard at Labatt Park in London, Ontario, carrying the Bowie Baysox to a 5-2 victory.
"It was a great way to start," he said. "You don't expect that t happen."
Despite a stutter step because of a pulled muscle, Miller's ba has been marching forward smartly ever since.
On a team that has had such sluggers as Jeffrey Hammonds (before his promotion to Rochester), Stanton Cameron, T. R. Lewis and Tim Holland, the quiet first baseman has wielded the biggest stick.
Entering the weekend, the Columbus, Ga., native topped the Baysox in home runs (five), RBI (13) and slugging percentage (.600) and was hitting .317, second on the team to Jim Wawruck. Last week, he had nine RBI in six games. Maturity is the big reason for his splurge.
"He was young for Double-A last year, but still did a good job," said manager Don Buford. "Now, his maturity is about like the difference between night and day. Brent is really confident."
Miller, 22, admits he was "surprised" to be in Hagerstown last season where he hit just four home runs while playing half his games in a cavernous park. But he hit 28 doubles off outfield walls to prove he hadn't lost his stroke.
"I don't think I lost any power," he said.
This is a left-handed hitter who with 19 homers the previous season in Single-A, ranked second only to Chito Martinez (20) for the most in the Orioles system.
Soon, Martinez was an Oriole. Miller may well follow.
"Last year he had a long swing and tried to hit home runs," sai Buford. "He has changed to a shorter stroke and I'm impressed. He has power to all parts of the park. I think you're going to see him in the majors and he could be an everyday player."
Miller was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of hig school, but did not sign.
An All-American at Middle Georgia Junior College where he wa shifted from third base to first, Miller was the Orioles' 19th pick in 1990 and now he is playing in an erstwhile major-league park.
"I like the atmosphere at Memorial Stadium," said Miller. "Even without thousands and thousands of fans, the ones who are here sure stay in the game."
So does Miller.
NOTES: Wawruck had two four-hit performances in a span of five games and joined the Eastern League leaders with a .348 average. . . . Going into the weekend, four Baysox pitchers are holding the opposition to a sub-.200 average, Jim Dedrick (.115), Chuck Ricci (.160), Terry Farrar (.182) and Jason Satre (.195). . . . After 14 home dates, Bowie was fourth in the league with an average attendance of 2,291. . . . Memorial Stadium has been kind. The team is 11-4 at home. Last year, as the Hagerstown Suns, it had the worst home record in the league (29-40).
7/8 ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- When manager Bob Miscik lost Damon Buford, he needed a center fielder and it didn't matter that the replacement, Jeffrey Hammonds, was projected as a right fielder. Hammonds has played all four of his Red Wings games in center. Miscik said he had no immediate plans to put Hammonds right, where another Orioles No. 1 draft pick, Mark Smith, plays.
Hammonds adjusted quickly to Triple-A -- three of his first fouhits went for extra bases, including a home run, and was batting .421 after four games.
But hold off casting his Hall of Fame plaque. Miscik saiHammonds still can use some work on his fielding and his throwing.
NOTES: Shortstop Manny Alexander sprained his ankle Fridanight against Pawtucket. He is expected to be out two weeks. . . . Left-hander Jamie Moyer (5-0) led the International League with a 1.38 ERA, was tied for the lead in victories after defeating the Ottawa Lynx on Tuesday, 6-5, and ranked second in strikeouts with 34. Moyer, who has been among the league leaders for the first four weeks of the season, was named the IL pitcher of the week. Moyer was the organization's pitcher of the month for April. . . . Paul Carey won the honor for hitters. . . . Catcher Mark Parent was expected to miss most of the week after pulling a hamstring while running the bases agains Ottawa on Tuesday. Parent had been named IL batter of the week for April 25-May 1 after going 8-for-25 with a double, four home runs, eight runs scored and 10 RBI. Of Parent's six home runs, five came in a seven-day period. . . . Starters Moyer, John O'Donoghue, Mike Oquist, Don Schulze and Todd Stephan have combined for a 13-2 record, but someone is likely to go when Kevin McGehee joins the rotation. Stephan, a converted reliever with two losses, could go back to the bullpen. . . . O'Donoghue led the league with 37 strikeouts. . . . Outfielder Bruce Dostal, signed last week, is expected to be the fourth outfielder. Dostal, 28, has stolen 30 or more bases four times in seven seasons. . . . The Red Wings collected a season-high 20 hits in a 14-0 victory over Ottawa Thursday. They lead the league with a .282 average. . . . After 10 hits in his first 16 games, switch-hitting second baseman Tommy Hinzo collected 10 hits in his next four. . . . Anthony
Telford recorded his first victory in relief with 1 2/3 scoreless innings against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. . . . Left-hander Pat Clements retired last week after he was not recalled on May 1, the day he was eligible to return to the majors.
Keys: Haynes changes up luck
FREDERICK -- Jimmy Haynes pitched in tough luck most of last season at Kane County, but things are beginning to even out.
The Orioles' seventh-round pick in 1991 allowed two or fewe runs in 19 of 24 starts and compiled a 2.56 ERA in 1992 -- but was a victim of poor support, finishing with a 7-11 record.
With the Keys, Haynes is 2-0, tops the minor leagues with 42 innings pitched, has the team's only complete game and has 37 strikeouts and a 2.11 ERA.
Haynes hurled eight shutout innings against Durham in his las outing.
NOTES: The Keys have not received a player since losing Jose Millares to Bowie, but are expecting infielder Dan Ramirez (fractured hand) to return from the disabled list.
Suns: Herrera wins honors
HAGERSTOWN -- Right fielder Jose Herrera has been named April's Player of the Month in the Toronto Blue Jays' farm system.
A 1990 free-agent signee from Villa Mella in the Dominica Republic, Herrera led the South Atlantic League in batting every day of the month and entered the weekend hitting .405.
He had 13 RBI as a leadoff man, 12 doubles, a triple and a hom run.