Drabek unhittable in 5 at Bowie In 'no pain,' pitcher says he's ready to rejoin O's


BOWIE -- Doug Drabek, on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1 with a strained left hamstring, tossed five hitless innings against Harrisburg last night in an injury rehab start at Double-A Bowie.

He threw 55 pitches, striking out three and walking none, and said afterward that he's ready to return to the Orioles in any capacity.

"There was no pain as far as I could tell," said Drabek, who will rejoin the club in Chicago today. "I could tell in the fifth inning that my legs were a little tired just from non-activity. I was glad there were some short innings."

Drabek hasn't pitched in the majors since relieving Scott Erickson on July 31 in Kansas City, his first appearance out of the bullpen in nine years. His last start came July 23 against Oakland, when he permitted five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

His next chance probably would come Tuesday, when Orioles manager Ray Miller needs a fifth starter to prevent rookie Sidney Ponson from working on three days' rest. That's also the date rosters can be expanded, so Miller will have other options.

At least Drabek gave the organization something to consider last night.

The only base runner against him, Trovin Valdez, reached on a passed ball after striking out in the third. Drabek also fielded two balls hit up the middle, including a wicked liner by Carlos Adolfo.

The fourth inning was his finest. Seven of his nine pitches were strikes, and the Senators couldn't get the ball out of the infield. Drabek was replaced by Josh Towers after throwing nine more pitches in the fifth, which he ended by striking out Adolfo.

He was scheduled to make two rehab starts until Scott Kamieniecki went on the DL Saturday. "I just want to get back and pitch and try to help out," said Drabek, 6-9 with a 7.07 ERA. "And whatever the role is, that's fine with me."

Pub Date: 8/26/98

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