Unable to satisfy their need for pitching via a trade or Triple-A promotion, the Orioles dug deep into their farm system yesterday. It was quite a reach.
The club purchased the contract of left-hander Radhames Dykhoff from Double-A Bowie, where he had been 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA in 20 relief appearances. Dykhoff joins his cousin, Orioles pitcher Sidney Ponson, as the only Aruban players in the majors, and just the fourth ever.
To clear a spot for Dykhoff, 23, the Orioles outrighted reliever Bobby Munoz to Triple-A Rochester. Munoz, coming back from elbow surgery, had allowed 12 earned runs and 14 hits in 10 innings, including four homers. No longer on the 40-man roster, he can accept his assignment or become a free agent.
Dykhoff was stretching around 2: 15 p.m. yesterday when called into manager Joe Ferguson's office and given the news. He jumped in his car and drove to Camden Yards, then sat in the bullpen for last night's game, wearing former closer Randy Myers' No. 28.
"I was shocked," he said. "I've never been here before, and when I got in here I couldn't believe it. It's like I'm still in a different world."
It was a different approach taken by a club frustrated by stalled efforts to improve a battered pitching staff.
Rumored deals for Seattle's Randy Johnson and Los Angeles' Hideo Nomo didn't pan out. When the Orioles looked to Rochester, they found Ponson and a bunch of journeymen, including Richie Lewis, who started Monday in place of injured right-hander Scott Kamieniecki and allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.
"For the most part, we've seen the best [Rochester's] got," manager Ray Miller said.
At Bowie, Dykhoff didn't allow a run in his last 14 innings, striking out 22 and allowing only four hits with three walks. Throw strikes, and Miller's your friend for life.
"One of the requests I made a few days back was, if our immediate talent is not up to par or we're not happy with what we have at Triple-A, we'll take some young guys who at least have an upside," Miller said. "If you can't get something from outside, then you should get the best talent you have and see what you can do with it.
"I'd prefer to bring him in to start an inning, or if nothing else for a one-hitter situation. Hopefully get the guy out and get him out of there."
And not worry about his lack of Triple-A seasoning. Or anyone else's, for that matter.
"I don't care if they get a truck going between here and Bowie," Miller said. "Bring in the best young guys we've got, let's look at them and see if maybe we do have something in our own system."
He'd settle for more healthy pitchers in his own clubhouse.
Kamieniecki had an MRI performed on his neck yesterday, and though results weren't available, the cause of his stiffness appears more complicated than the club has indicated. Due to come off the disabled list tomorrow, Kamieniecki's throwing has been limited to light tossing in the outfield.
"Some things we're looking at, some things we're ruling out," Kamieniecki, who might have more tests, said after last night's game. "We might know more tomorrow or Monday. All I can tell you is it's still sore and it's still bothering me."
The future is just as uncertain for left-hander Jimmy Key, who's on the disabled list with inflammation in his left rotator cuff. Key said yesterday that he's "still waiting" for improvement in the shoulder, which is unable to withstand any form of exercise.
Improvement in the rotation comes in the form of Mike Mussina, who returns today for the first time since being hit in the face by a line drive from Cleveland's Sandy Alomar on May 14. The club has gone 14-21 during Mussina's two stints on the DL.
"When he comes back," said catcher Chris Hoiles, "it just boosts everybody's morale."
Pub Date: 6/06/98