Kirk grades Baysox stay at Memorial Stadium as a Double-A

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Peter Kirk said this week that if one of his minor-league clubs "needs a temporary home again, we wouldn't hesitate to consider" a return to Memorial Stadium.

The Bowie Baysox owner has been satisfied with the experience of the Double-A franchise so far this year at the storied 33rd Street park abandoned by the Orioles after the 1991 season.

"On a temporary basis, I think we've shown we can be successful," said Kirk. "We've done a lot of cross promotion with the Orioles, we've been a good spot for rehabilitating players and we've been able to do a large number of community fund-raisers.

"We have given players an opportunity to play in a big-league park and spotlighted minor-league baseball to a lot of people who had never seen it."

The Baysox were forced to locate a home site when construction of their new stadium in Bowie was delayed for almost a year.

Agreements to begin construction on the 8,000-seat park were reached June 15.

With only two months to promote, there was a big question whether the team could draw fans sufficiently to offset the expense associated with playing at Memorial Stadium.

Kirk said that the bottom line cannot be determined until after the season's attendance has been totaled but that the Baysox need to average roughly 3,000 to 5,000.

"Whether we make money, lose money or break even, our staff agreed to do our best to make this a first-class operation," he said. "Everybody seems pleased with what we're doing on a one-year basis."

Kirk is awaiting developments in Rochester, N.Y., which must build a stadium to conform to Triple-A standards or risk losing the Red Wings.

"There is nothing to prevent us from getting another Triple-A team if Rochester builds a new stadium. A lot of changes are brewing in the majors, and they will filter down to the minors," Kirk said. "There will be a lot of recycling of affiliations."

Stay tuned. Kirk is never finished moving.

NOTES: Jim Dedrick's 5-0 victory over the Eastern League-leading Harrisburg Senators on Tuesday marked the first complete-game win by a Baysox pitcher. Their other route-going performances -- two by Kevin Ryan, one by Erik Schullstrom -- have come in seven-inning defeats. . . . Of Bowie's 48 home runs, 30 have been with the bases empty. Conversely, the opposition has 35 homers, 17 with none on. Five more men have been aboard overall when Baysox opposition has homered. . . . Cesar Devarez, whose throwing arm is highly regarded in the organization, has caught seven of 10 runners trying to steal. . . . Brad Tyler has 12 triples and has a shot at the Eastern League record of 28 set by Albany's Al Gionfriddo in 1944. ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Triple-A Rochester Red Wings have been in first place for more than 40 straight days on the strength of their hitters and the weakness of the rest of the division.

They went 2-9 in a stretch before Friday and gained a game on the second-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.

Halfway through the season, manager Bob Miscik never knows whether he'll get the lady or the tiger when he goes to the bullpen. If the Orioles were to need help, they might not find it at Rochester.

Mike Cook, who won the battle of attrition for the closer's job, has nine saves, but has blown several chances for more. Ten of 25 inherited runners have scored against the right-hander. Cook probably has the best stuff of the relievers -- his curveball has major-league movement -- but he doesn't throw enough first-pitch strikes to get hitters to chase it.

* John O'Donoghue, who was called up by the Orioles to start today's game against the New York Yankees, is 1-3 with a no-decision after going 5-0 in his first 10 appearances. His only victory since May 27 is a 5-0, seven-inning complete-game victory over the Syracuse Chiefs on June 11. In the other four starts during his slump, O'Donoghue has given up 31 hits in 20 innings and has a 7.20 ERA during that stretch. Miscik said there is nothing physically wrong with the left-hander, but that he needs better command of all four of his pitches. "He has to keep them out of the middle of the plate."

Despite his other troubles, O'Donoghue continues to strike batters out, collecting 14 while walking six during his slump. He ranks fourth in the league in strikeouts with 83.

* After nearly a year of disagreement over whether a new stadium was needed and if it was, where it should be built, the city and county governments and the Red Wings have agreed on a proposal for a new ballpark. The only sticking point is the state, which is being asked to contribute $15.25 million of the $37.3 million in costs. But a spokesman said the state may pitch in only $7 million.

But local officials aren't letting that detail spoil their plans for a 12,500-seat stadium. Rochester's mayor and the Monroe County executive, who had been at odds, came together with the help of local business leaders. The Red Wings had chosen a suburban Rochester site before the downtown proposal was offered at the last minute.

Silver Stadium, opened in 1929 and renovated in 1986, was deemed deficient in several areas by Major League Baseball. Since a new stadium won't be ready by 1994, when new requirements for minor-league parks go into effect, the Red Wings still may need to make costly repairs to Silver.

* Paul Carey reclaimed his first-base job when he returned to the Red Wings on Friday night. The swap of Carey for Jeffrey Hammonds gives the Red Wings power, but takes away speed. It also takes away a natural leadoff batter. Bruce Dostal is expected to lead off against right-handers, and Manny Alexander could lead off against lefties.

Carey's arrival bumps Mel Wearing back to designated hitter, but not even that's guaranteed. The Red Wings have four DTC outfielders, and one is expected to rotate with Wearing as DH. But Wearing will be tough to get out of the lineup now that he's hitting again. After going 5-for-70, the right-handed hitter was 9-for-27 in his past eight games.

NOTES: C Mark Parent, who was 3-for-38 over 12 games, has since hit in nine of 11 (14-for-39) with four doubles, a homer and seven RBI through Thursday . . . Kevin McGehee leads the league with a 1.80 ERA. The right-hander took over the lead with seven shutout innings in a 9-1 victory over Charlotte on Tuesday . . . Mike Oquist recorded his first victory since May 2, a span of eight starts, with a rain-shortened 4-0 victory over Columbus. The right-hander had given up three hits in 5 1/3 innings . . . Tommy Hinzo hasn't stolen a base since May 29. He is third in the league with 16.

Patti Singer

Keys: Offense is off

FREDRICK

FREDERICK -- The Single-A Frederick Keys have been receiving decent pitching, but their lack of offense has cost them.

In an attempt to shore up the attack, infielder-outfielder Jose Millares returned to Frederick last week from the Double-A Baysox.

Millares hit .292 in 29 games with Bowie.

During his first stay with Frederick, Millares had four homers and 12 RBI in 20 games.

To illustrate the Keys' offensive troubles, they are last in the Carolina League in runs scored, an average of about 1 1/2 behind the leader, the Durham Bulls.

NOTES: Brian DuBois and Dave Paveloff, former Keys pitchers now with the Baysox, still rank among the league's pitching leaders. DuBois is first in ERA (1.55) and Paveloff is tied for second in saves (15). . . . Curtis Goodwin stole nine bases in a span of eight games and extended his league lead to 12 with a total of 38. . . . Attendance has been holding firm, but a series of major promotions, including laser shows, fireworks and a Hawaiian luau, are expected to enable the Keys to seriously challenge leaders Wilmington and Durham.

Kent Baker

Suns: Thwarting thefts

HAGERSTOWN

HAGERSTOWN -- Catcher Angel Martinez missed 37 games with a broken right hand, but he is quickly making up for lost time.

Since returning to the Single-A Hagerstown Suns' lineup June 8, he has made a habit of throwing out would-be base stealers for the Toronto Blue Jays affiliate, nabbing five in a row, 12 of the past 17.

Martinez also scored the winning run in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game last week at Golden Park in Columbus, Ga., after leading off the 10th inning with a double. The American League team won, 3-2.

The three Hagerstown representatives went 3-for-8 in the All-Star game.

But the Suns went into the weekend still missing their biggest offensive force, outfielder Jose Herrera (broken thumb), the league's leading hitter.

NOTES: Pitcher Steve Renko, son and namesake of the former major leaguer, has been promoted to Double-A Knoxville. He was 4-2 with a 3.40 ERA and a team-leading five saves at Hagerstown. . . . To replace Renko, the Suns received right-hander Tim Lindsay, who was 1-1 at Single-A Dunedin. . . . The injury-riddled Suns finished the first half with a 34-36 record, 11 games behind champion Greensboro in the Northern Division. They lost the first two games of the second half at home. . . . Hagerstown ranks 13th in the 14-team league with an average attendance of 1,255.

Kent Baker

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