Keys' Bartee may be fastest of Orioles' fleet

Who's the fastest player in the Orioles' organization?

Jeffrey Hammonds? Curtis Goodwin, the highly touted Bowie Baysox center fielder?


According to Orioles director of field operations Reid Nichols, it may be neither of the above.

Nichols' ballot goes to Single-A Frederick Keys outfielder Kimera Bartee, who outran Goodwin when Nichols timed them in the 60-yard -- during spring training.


"They ran separately, and Bartee went 6.34 to Goodwin's 6.5," Nichols said. "We used an electronic timer, so it was accurate. I would believe that they are faster than Hammonds, although we didn't time Jeffrey."

Bartee, 21, was the organization's 14th-round pick in last June's draft. He played for the Bluefield Orioles, leading the rookie-level Appalachian League with 27 steals in 66 games.

The problem has been getting him to first base. Bartee batted only .246 last season and struck out 66 times in 264 at-bats; this season he is hitting .200 with 27 strikeouts in 100 at-bats.

Nichols said Bartee needs work getting proper jumps, but "has gotten better since the start of this season. He's holding his own now."

A switch-hitter, Bartee gets to first base in under four seconds when batting right-handed, an outstanding time.

Alfonzo family reunion

Baysox infielder Edgar Alfonzo has played against younger brother Edgardo in the winter leagues in their native Venezuela.

But until this week, they never had opposed each other in an American professional game.


The breakthrough came when the Baysox visited the Binghamton Mets in a Double-A Eastern League game. It was a proud moment for the elder Alfonzo, who has played professionally since 1985.

"I think he's better than me," Edgar said. "But that still makes me feel good because I teach him how to play the game. He has nice hands, but sometimes he tries to do things too quick. I try to get him to slow down."

Edgardo, 20, was the Single-A Florida State League All-Star shortstop last summer after batting .294 with 86 RBIs for the St. Lucie Mets. He is considered one of New York's best prospects.

"He's young and exciting," said Edgar, 26, who never has played above Double-A except for 11 at-bats at Edmonton in 1990. "Eventually, he will exceed everything I've done."

Powell's progress

Jay Powell, the Orioles' first-round draft choice last year, is on schedule for a gradual buildup.


Powell made his first start for Frederick on Sunday and earned an 8-4 Carolina League victory over the Kinston Indians (5 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts).

"He's going to be OK," Orioles assistant general manager Doug Melvin said. "He played winter ball in Australia into February and had a little tenderness in his elbow when he returned, so we didn't want to rush him back."

Listen to Mike

Mike Flanagan spent four days scouting the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings' starting rotation last week.

"As a player who recently left the big leagues, Mike could offer good advice and be very helpful to young pitchers," Melvin said. "He liked what he saw, some good arms, but at that level sometimes the tendency is just to want to throw to put up stats, and Mike can remind them that it takes more than that to be successful in the majors."

This and that


Manny Alexander, who had been out after the removal of a cyst from his left thigh, was activated by Rochester. He is scheduled to play second base at least three times a week. . . . Brad Pennington had mixed results in his first two Rochester appearances, failing to close one game when he had a save chance. In 3 2/3 innings, he walked three and struck out six. . . . Kevin McGehee, who had elbow problems this spring, made his starting debut for the Wings on Sunday and lost to the Richmond Braves after giving up four runs and six hits in five innings. "I wish the results were different, but my arm felt OK," he said. . . . Bowie, still without a home, drew its two largest crowds of the year against the Reading Phillies in Wilmington, Del., 1,639 and 1,142, and is inching toward a 1,000 average. . . . Reading's Chuck Ricci, formerly of the Baysox, pitched two scoreless innings against Bowie on Sunday. Ricci has an 0.00 ERA after 19 relief innings. . . . Bowie's four top starters, Rick Forney, Jimmy Haynes, Vaughn Eshelman and Scott Klingenbeck, were a combined 11-2 with 106 strikeouts and only 25 walks through their first 107 innings. . . . The Single-A Hagerstown Suns have lost shortstop Brandon Cromer, the Toronto Blue Jays' third-round draft choice in 1992, for six to seven weeks because of a broken left arm.