BOWIE -- It took Andy Van Slyke less than a minute to start rattling off the quips in the locker room at Prince George's County Stadium last night.
Asked about returning to the minor leagues, he replied:
"What I remember about the minors are dungeon-like clubhouses, dusty dugouts and old fields. This is a beautiful clubhouse, a new stadium and a good field.
"If we'd get 8,000 people in here, I'd feel like I was back in Pittsburgh . . . only with grass."
Less than half that many were in the stands when Van Slyke began his three-game rehabilitation assignment by scoring the winning run in Bowie's 3-2 Double-A Eastern League victory over the Reading Phillies.
Facing two left-handed pitchers, Van Slyke received few pitches that he could hit as he walked twice on 3-2 counts, punched a single into left field on an outside offering and lined out softly to first base in his first at-bat.
Van Slyke had not played since May 29, when he aggravated a strained muscle in his forearm. He was placed on the disabled list June 1.
Rookie Curtis Goodwin has since blazed into the center-field job, and Van Slyke said last night: "I have no problem with anybody who can play better than I can to help the club win. That's the whole idea. But it's also hard to replace 12 years of experience, too."
The Baysox (26-36) ended a seven-game losing streak with a two-out rally in the eighth, Van Slyke launching it with a walk.
The most encouraging sign for Bowie was the first save by Joe Borowski, once considered on a par with Armando Benitez as a closer.