Fernandez says he's fit to be tried


BOWIE -- Sid Fernandez says he is ready to get back to the majors.

Fernandez, who is on rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Bowie, figured that his five-inning start last Sunday was good enough to be his first and only start with the Baysox.

But the Orioles had other plans, and manager Phil Regan wanted him to make another start, this time seven innings or 120 pitches.

So Fernandez did just that. He went all seven innings of the first game of a doubleheader against the Reading Phillies last night, pitching a two-hit, 6-0 shutout at Prince George's Stadium.

Rocky Coppinger fired another two-hit shutout as Bowie won the nightcap, 9-0.

"This is it . . . my last rehab start," Fernandez said. "I'm not doing this again. That's all there is to it. I felt all right. I ain't got to perform well for no one. I've been pitching too long to try and perform for anyone."

Fernandez, 31, struck out four batters with a variety of changeups, curves and fastballs. His fastball velocity ranged from 81 to 86 mph. He threw 86 pitches -- 57 strikes and 29 balls -- and walked two.

Fernandez was placed on the DL on June 7 with a sore left collarbone.

With starting pitchers Kevin Brown (dislocated right index finger) and Ben McDonald (sore shoulder) put on the DL on Thursday, Regan and general manager Roland Hemond might decide about Fernandez soon.

"It probably depends on how well he pitches," Regan said last Thursday. "He actually has a 30-day rehab. We want to make sure he throws good strikes and a percentage of them. We'll wait to see how he pitches and then we'll make a decision."

Last Sunday, Fernandez (1-0, 0.75 ERA at Bowie) struck out six and allowed two hits and two runs, one unearned, against the Canton-Akron Indians in the Baysox's 6-2 loss.

"I'm very pleased with what I see," said Fred Uhlman, the Orioles' special assistant to the general manager. "His ball-strike ratio is very good. His velocity was good. All of his pitches are working well. They [Orioles] have to be satisfied with him."

The Baysox have been satisfied having Fernandez.

"We are very pleased with him," said Baysox pitching coach Chris Lein. "I don't think he needs to show anything. He's got a pretty good, straight changeup. Sid just needed innings and work and we're just fortunate to have him."

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