The Orioles may be putting a new spin in their pitching rotation. Mike Mussina threw only 30 pitches in two-thirds of an inning on Thursday, which leaves manager Phil Regan with the option of bumping up Mussina's next start.
"I would have no problem with that," Mussina said. "Thirty pitches -- that's not even what I throw on the side. I would throw more pitches than I did in that game in a 15-minute workout."
In the current rotation, Mussina would be scheduled to start on Tuesday in Texas, and Ben McDonald would pitch on Wednesday in Minnesota, followed by Scott Erickson on Thursday.
But that creates another problem for the Orioles, who do not want Erickson, a ground-ball pitcher, throwing on the artificial surface of Minnesota's Metrodome.
Regan said he is considering altering his rotation for the coming road trip.
The Orioles did make one pitching move yesterday. Joe Borowski was sent to Triple-A Rochester when McDonald was taken off the disabled list. McDonald had been on the DL with a sore shoulder. Borowski got one inning of work in Baltimore after being recalled from Double-A Bowie on July 8.
"I wouldn't trade this experience for anything," Borowski said. "I thought I was just coming up here for the weekend, but I was able to stick around and actually pitch an inning, which is to my benefit. I got over some of my nervousness and hopefully I'll be back here soon."
Borowski will get some major-league company on Monday, when starter Kevin Brown comes off the DL. If the Orioles want to get down to 11 pitchers, Mike Oquist, Armando Benitez and Arthur Rhodes are likely candidates for Triple-A.
Benitez gave up two runs and four hits in one inning last night, but has proved capable of striking out batters in the late innings, and Oquist has been effective in long relief. Leo Gomez and Jeff Huson may be expendable with third baseman Jeff Manto's bat back in the lineup.
Impressive in relief
Rhodes, a starter turned reliever, may have found a new niche with the Orioles.
Thursday, in his first career relief appearance, Rhodes went seven innings, giving up one run and striking out 10. The effort surprised Rhodes and grabbed the attention of Regan.
"I was real surprised when the phone rang and they asked for me," Rhodes said. "It was tough for me because I have never known how to get loose in the bullpen. I just got up and starting throwing the ball, and things went well."
The left-hander was facing a Royals lineup loaded with %o left-handers -- a situation Regan would like to take advantage of in the future.
"He showed me a lot," Regan said. "That might be a good role for him, just coming into the ball game without having to think about the game [like a starter]. It's nice to have a guy who can start or relieve. It's a nice way to stick in the major leagues."
The Goodwin files
The Orioles aren't the only team in the league with a speedy center fielder named Goodwin. Baltimore's Curtis Goodwin and Kansas City's Tom Goodwin share more than a last name. The two unrelated outfielders play a similar brand of baseball and have been friends since meeting a year ago in winter ball.
"We both need to get on base as much as we can and cause as much havoc as we can," Tom Goodwin said. "We play a similar style of speed baseball."
The Goodwins went out to lunch together yesterday. Do they get mistaken for each other?
"People are always saying I am him," Curtis Goodwin said. "I am always getting asked if I am his brother, but we're not even related."
The better question may be which one is faster. Tom Goodwin's 28 steals, including two last night, are tops in the American League. Curtis has 17. But Curtis has played in 23 fewer games than Tom.
Basic black for McDonald
Not even the 99-degree game-time temperature could keep McDonald from sending the Orioles to the field in their black uniforms last night. McDonald is superstitious when it comes to game attire.
"We always wear black when I pitch," McDonald said. "That's the rule."
Brady Anderson Fund
The Orioles will hold a news conference today to announce the establishment of the Brady Anderson Fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation. Money raised from the sale of Anderson's poster and a card and autograph show the left fielder is sponsoring will go to the foundation.
That money will be distributed to various charitable causes in Baltimore, including needy and sick children.