Three weeks after acquiring Darren Holmes from the St. Louis Cardinals for future considerations, the Orioles have released the veteran reliever and purchased the contract of left-hander John Parrish from Triple-A Rochester.
Holmes made five appearances with the Orioles, allowing 13 runs and 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Two of the three home runs off him were hit Tuesday night, both two-run shots in the eighth inning after he replaced starter Mike Mussina with the Florida Marlins ahead, 3-0.
Manager Mike Hargrove notified Holmes of the club's decision around 3 p.m. yesterday. Holmes, who once saved 25 games for the Colorado Rockies, had left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed inside.
"It obviously wasn't working with Darren," Hargrove said. "He struggled when we did send him out there. It took awhile for him to get settled in. Like most pitchers, when Darren was down in the strike zone, he was pretty good. When he got the ball up, he got lit up."
The first four batters reached against him on Tuesday, with four runs scoring before he recorded an out. In a July 5 game in New York, he relieved Pat Rapp with one out in the sixth and immediately gave up two run-scoring singles and a walk.
Holmes also surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced in his debut, Boston's Brian Daubach, in the seventh inning of a June 29 game at Fenway Park. He didn't get an out in the eighth, allowing two doubles, a single and two walks before being removed with his ERA at 45.00 He had reduced it to 25.07 before yesterday's transaction.
"His outing [Tuesday] was fairly indicative of the rest of the outings," said Hargrove. "He had a little trouble with the first three or four hitters in the lineup. Once he got past that, he was pretty good. But we decided we've got some kids down at Rochester who are throwing the ball well and deserve a shot at it, so we decided to make a move."
Parrish, 22, was a 25th-round draft pick in 1996 out of J.P. McCaskey High in Lancaster, Pa. He began this season at Double-A Bowie, going 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts before moving up to Rochester, where he was 6-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 17 starts. He had allowed 79 hits, walked 53 and struck out 82 in 97 1/3 innings. His fastball averages 90-91 mph.
"He's a live-body kid who has a tendency to get excited every now and then. We've got to help him settle in and get past that," Hargrove said.
Parrish won't be available for a few days after throwing 100 pitches for Rochester in a 3-2 victory in Indianapolis on Tuesday. He'll remain in the bullpen for now, but Hargrove indicated that Parrish is looked upon by the Orioles as a starter. When that opportunity comes is uncertain, but it would give the Orioles their first left-hander in the rotation since Matt Riley made three September starts.
"I think we all agree that at some point John gets a start," Hargrove said.
"He's throwing the ball well. He had a string of games where he threw very, very well, then he sprained his ankle and backed off a little bit. [Tuesday] was a good outing for him, and we just decided it was the time to do it. We're not bringing him here to sit. "
Hargrove said no consideration was given to promoting left-handed reliever B.J. Ryan, who began the season with the Orioles. Ryan is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 10 games, including four starts. He has allowed 19 hits and 12 runs in 21 1/3 innings, walking eight and striking out 22.
Time change considered
Saturday afternoon's record Camden Yards crowd has caused the Orioles to consider setting more later afternoon start times for next season's Saturday games, according to chief operating officer Joe Foss. Though Saturday's 4:05 p.m. game time was a concession to television, Foss and other front-office types were impressed by the 49,013 fans who attended the series finale against the NL champion Atlanta Braves.
"It made me think about a 4 p.m. start time for Saturdays," said Foss, noting the largest regular-season crowd in Camden Yards history. "It seemed to have some appeal.
"It might be a nice thing for downtown Baltimore. ... That game was over around 7, and I'm sure the restaurants were flooded. And given a 4 p.m. start time, you have more times to do errands and other things on Saturday, whether it be things around the house or going to a Little League game."
Asked if the club might consider retaining a 7:05 p.m. start time for weekday games throughout the season rather than just April, May and September, Foss said the issue may be studied but stopped short of saying he considered implementation likely. The Orioles review game times every winter and considered a universal 7:05 p.m. first pitch for night games as recently as two years ago. Their current philosophy maintains it is easier for business people to go home and return downtown by 7:35. However, sentiment is growing that it's better to have the stadium full for the ninth inning than the first.
"We'll look at all start times as part of our off-season evaluation," said Foss.
Though the Orioles announce only tickets sold and not actual attendance, Foss said the percentage of no-shows is roughly the same as last season.
Day-night doubleheader today
Last night's opener of a two-game series with the Boston Red Sox was postponed because of inclement weather. The clubs will play a day-night doubleheader today, with Sidney Ponson opposing Ramon Martinez at 1:35 p.m. and Scott Erickson facing Pete Schourek at 7:35 p.m.
Tickets and rain checks from last night should be used for today's first game. Fans unable to attend may exchange their tickets for any of the Orioles' Monday through Thursday night games beginning July 31.