Todd Frohwirth's past seven appearances haven't been DTC productive, and manager Johnny Oates says at least part of the reason is the reliever's lack of activity.
"He needs to pitch as often as [Gregg] Olson," said Oates. "Gregg needs one inning every third day at least. Froh needs to pitch that often for more than one inning. Right now he's not getting enough work."
Right now, however, the chicken-or-egg theory comes into play. Orioles starters have been so consistent they have left fewer innings for the bullpen -- and when Frohwirth has been called upon he hasn't been effective enough to stay on the mound.
He entered yesterday's game in the eighth inning with the Orioles holding a 5-4 lead. He gave up two singles in two-thirds of an inning and was charged with two runs when Gregg Olson gave up an infield single to Hubie Brooks that put the Royals ahead, 6-5.
In his past seven games, Frohwirth has pitched only 8 1/3 innings, giving up 17 hits and 10 earned runs. Before the All-Star break, Frohwirth indicated his problems stemmed from lack of work.
While Oates may agree, he says it won't affect how he uses his bullpen. "I have to assume they will do the job," he said, "but I
can't base moves on how much work they've had."
He's out of there
Kansas City manager Hal McRae had a frustrating afternoon with the umpires and eventually was thrown out by home-plate )) umpire Tim Welke in the seventh inning. The ejection came after pinch hitter Kevin McReynolds' bunt attempt -- with runners on first and second and none out -- was ruled a strike.
McRae questioned several other calls, and later took a swipe at American League umpires in general. "Every time we're in a close game, the calls go against us," said McRae. "It's been that way all season.
"The only thing we can do about it is beat the stuff out of everybody we play, because the close calls are going to go against us."
The Royals have played 42 one-run decisions this year, winning 24 -- both highs in the major leagues.
Oates said he wrestled with four possible lineups yesterday before settling on the one that had Chris Hoiles as the designated hitter.
Among the DH possibilities he rejected were Harold Baines and Brady Anderson, who sat out with a slightly bruised right thumb resulting from a dive on the basepaths last week. Both moves were influenced somewhat by the fact that Kansas City started left-hander Chris Haney and, in the case of Baines, because of the day game following a night game.
Hot rumor corner
The Orioles have discussed the possibility of signing Kevin Seitzer, who was released earlier this week by the Oakland Athletics.
However, if the Orioles decide to make a move to acquire a third baseman, their primary interest is in Cincinnati's Chris Sabo, who can become a free agent at the end of the season.
Any deal for Sabo would depend on the asking price, believed to be a quality minor-league prospect.
For now, Oates is more than satisfied with Tim Hulett at third base. Hulett had two more hits yesterday and is 9-for-20 (.450) in his last five games. But with Leo Gomez out for at least a month because of wrist surgery, the Orioles are investigating other possibilities.
If the price is right, Sabo would appear to be the ideal fit, providing excellent defense as well as offense. Seitzer is a convenient alternative.
In the meantime, the Orioles' interest in adding a pitcher for the stretch drive will depend on the condition of Mike Mussina, who left yesterday's game after five innings with a strained back.