The number of quality catching prospects in the Orioles' organization has most affected Jim Foster, but he hasn't allowed the problem to bother his play.
In his third season at Single-A Frederick, Foster is off to a torrid start that continued yesterday when he hit two home runs and knocked in five runs in an 8-1 romp over the visiting Wilmington Blue Rocks.
The victory completed a three-game sweep of the defending Carolina League champions and pushed the first-place Keys (15-7) two games ahead of them in the Northern Division.
"The biggest difference is I'm healthy," said Foster, whose hitting was hampered by a hand injury last season. "Last year, I was worrying about too many things. And I made a few mechanical adjustments."
Foster singled home a first-inning run, hit bases-empty homers off loser Todd Thorn (1-3) in the third and fifth innings and doubled home two runs against reliever Brad Evans in the eighth.
"The way I feel now is the way I felt when I went to Double-A [Bowie]," Foster said. "It's kind of a personal thing to do well here."
Foster is 13-for-23 (.565) against Wilmington pitching and has taken over the league home run lead with seven if Kinston's Russell Branyan didn't connect yesterday. Foster has 20 RBIs, 18 runs scored and 19 walks.
The game was played in a steady drizzle most of the way and completed in a hard rain. It was Frederick's fourth straight win and fifth in a row against Wilmington (13-9).
"A sweep like this picks everybody up, especially against this team," Keys manager Dave Hilton said.
Thunder 5, Baysox 4: Andy Abad scored in the bottom of the ninth on an errant throw by catcher Melvin Rosario, giving Trenton (14-9) a one-game lead over visiting Bowie (12-7) in the Southern Division of the Double-A Eastern League.
Sand Gnats 6, Shorebirds 4: Brett Illig went 3-for-3 and scored twice to lead visiting Savannah (10-14) over Delmarva (10-14) in the Single-A South Atlantic League.
Pub Date: 4/28/97