FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Pitching was the dominant theme of yesterday's intrasquad game, and it started with Mike Mussina, who threw two shutout innings before giving way to the first of four relievers. Mussina allowed two opposite-field singles, walked one and struck out three, including Kelly Gruber on a 3-2 changeup to lead off the second inning.
Gruber hasn't played since the 1993 season because of a herniated disk in his neck. "His first at-bat and Mussina gives him a 3-2 changeup. He's thinking, 'Man, I've forgotten a lot about this game,' " said manager Davey Johnson.
Catcher B. J. Waszgis was behind the plate for Mussina's two innings. "We just tried to work on the outside corners today, and he was throwing strikes," Waszgis said. "A couple of knuckle curves, I don't think he wanted them right where he threw them, but for his first outing I thought he did excellent."
Shawn Boskie, starting for Team B, also gave up two hits in two innings and struck out two. Rick Krivda, Brian Williams and Rule 5 draftee Tom Davey each threw two shutout innings, and Julio Moreno and left-hander Brian Shouse threw one. Moreno gave up two hits in the seventh, but struck out the side.
The score was 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth when outfielder Danny Clyburn hit a three-run homer to left off Francisco Saneaux, who made one start at Single-A Frederick last year.
Johnson has been emphasizing the importance of holding runners, something the Orioles struggled with last season. Four players were picked off yesterday, one each by relievers Williams and Jimmy Haynes and two by catcher Melvin Rosario.
"When it works against the guys who have been watching us work on it, it makes you feel good," said pitching coach Ray Miller.
Big day for Reboulet
Jeff Reboulet, who could be the starting second baseman on Opening Day while Roberto Alomar serves his five-game suspension, singled twice and walked twice. Both hits were to the opposite field. Neither was a scorcher.
"They fell in today, let's put it that way," said Reboulet, whose sixth-inning single off Haynes drove in Jeffrey Hammonds with the game's first run. "Anything you do positive is important."
Johnson said Reboulet probably will play some shortstop in today's exhibition opener.
Around the horn
Speedster Eugene Kingsale provided the afternoon's defensive gem with a diving catch in center field to rob Juan Bautista in the eighth. Hammonds stole a base, beat out an infield hit and went from first to third on an errant pickoff throw by Haynes. Gruber, who had surgery on his neck in 1995, singled off Krivda in the fourth. Johnson said he probably will start Manny Alexander at second base today, but Gruber also will play there. Waszgis, who batted .266 at Triple-A Rochester last season, made a strong impression by lining a single off Boskie and throwing out a would-be base stealer. Rocky Coppinger signed for $185,000 and will have six weigh-ins that could earn him up to $30,000 more. Alomar keeps improving and got rid of his crutches yesterday.
Pub Date: 2/27/97