MILWAUKEE -- Orioles media relations director John Maroon pulled up to County Stadium yesterday and saw three young, athletic-looking guys standing outside wearing suits.
The three newest Orioles -- pitchers Archie Corbin and Esteban Yan and catcher Cesar Devarez -- were called up as part of a mass of moves by the team.
"Do you guys know where you're going?" Maroon asked.
Corbin admitted they didn't, and Maroon ushered them to the clubhouse, where they replaced the three outgoing members -- catcher Gregg Zaun and pitcher Garrett Stephenson, demoted to Triple-A Rochester, and left-hander Arthur Rhodes, placed on the disabled list with a shoulder problem that likely will sideline him for the rest of the year.
Orioles manager Davey Johnson hopes Corbin and Yan plug the gaping holes in the bullpen, although each had mixed results at Rochester, Corbin 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA (43 2/3 innings, 25 walks, 47 strikeouts) and Yan with a 5-4 record and a 4.72 ERA (61 innings, 17 walks, 53 strikeouts).
Last night, Corbin pitched the final inning, walking one and striking out two.
But Johnson admitted that the Orioles are "still looking for bullpen help" elsewhere, a difficult task because the club cannot make a major-league trade unless a player clears waivers.
Devarez has the strongest throwing arm of any catcher in the Orioles' organization, throwing out 41.9 percent of runners attempting to steal, and he hit .285 with nine doubles, four homers and 26 RBIs at Rochester.
There are questions about whether he can handle pitchers, and he'll get an opportunity to change that; Devarez likely will start tomorrow and catch Rocky Coppinger, who gave Devarez solid reviews when speaking with pitching coach Pat Dobson yesterday.
Johnson said he wants Zaun to go back to Rochester to get regular playing time and hone his skills. Zaun, hitting .231 in 50 games, annoyed the staff with what was felt to be an occasional lack of attentiveness. During the Cleveland series, there was one sequence when the Orioles weren't holding a runner at first, conceding second, and as Zaun went to catch a pitch, he came up as if to throw to second -- where no one would've covered -- and the ball bounced off his glove and away.
Stephenson had a 12.79 ERA in three appearances. Rhodes flew back to Baltimore yesterday to have his shoulder examined.
Keeping eye on prospects
Johnson talked with general manager Pat Gillick, assistant GM Kevin Malone and farm director Syd Thrift yesterday about accelerating the development of several Single-A prospects.
Johnson wants to know if they might be able to pitch for the Orioles as soon as next year, and could even be promoted to the majors this September.
Johnson wouldn't specify the prospects they talked about, but among those likely being discussed: Calvin Maduro, currently at Triple-A Rochester; Chris Fussell, a right-hander at Single-A Frederick, who will have to be added to the 40-man roster after this season; Nerio Rodriguez, a converted catcher who has 37 walks and 104 strikeouts in 104 1/3 innings at Single-A Frederick; and Francisco Saneaux, a right-hander at Single-A High Desert.
Hoiles on a roll
Once again, Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles is building his average in the second half of the season, an annual event. He is batting .309 (17-for-55) over his last 16 games and is hitting .302 (26-for-86) over his last 25 games.
"I don't know what it is," said Hoiles, who added that he might continue to hit off a tee and against a pitching machine throughout the off-season, rather than take a break.
Hoiles has 17 homers and 49 RBIs, and easily should surpass his numbers of last year (19 homers and 58 RBIs).
Around the horn
Johnson said the Orioles are going to a four-man rotation, until further notice. . . . According to an AL source, the Orioles would've gotten a third prospect from Seattle in the trade for pitcher David Wells. Along with catcher Chris Widger and shortstop Desi Relaford, they also would've received outfielder Shane Monahan, an outfielder drafted by the Mariners with the third pick of the second round -- and nearly drafted by the Orioles in the first round. Monahan, who attended Clemson and is playing for Single-A Lancaster in the California League, is hitting .291 in 107 games, with 90 runs, 25 doubles, 11 triples, 13 homers and 86 RBIs and has 18 stolen bases. . . . Brian Falkenborg, the Orioles' second-round pick this year and the club's top pick overall, threw four shutout innings yesterday for the organization's Gulf Coast League affiliate. In 12 2/3 innings, Falkenborg has walked three and struck out 19. . . . Calvin Pickering, a first base prospect playing for Bluefield, is posting some of the more bizarre numbers in baseball. He's hitting .305 with 10 doubles, a triple and eight homers and 38 RBIs in 128 at-bats -- and 56 strikeouts. Which means that when Pickering makes contact, he's hitting .542 when he puts the ball in play.
Pub Date: 8/07/96