John Parrish received the best possible wake-up call on Wednesday. Jarred from his sleep around 10 a.m., the Rochester Red Wings left-hander was notified of his promotion to the Orioles by farm director Don Buford.
Standing at his locker yesterday, Parrish still wasn't sure he heard it correctly.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet," said Parrish, 22, who replaced Darren Holmes on the roster. "I'll wait for the games to start. The first time they throw me out there on the mound, I'll see what happens. That's when I'll really know what it feels like."
Parrish wasn't available for yesterday's doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox after throwing 100 pitches for Rochester on Tuesday. He'll stay in the bullpen until manager Mike Hargrove can work him into the rotation, where he was 6-6 with a 4.25 ERA with the Red Wings.
A 25th-round pick in the 1996 draft, Parrish said he heard "rumblings" that he might be summoned by the Orioles.
"There was talk about it, but I was playing it day-by-day," he said. "I didn't think it would be so early, but when I started pitching good I knew it could happen. This is a big business and there's a lot of room for everybody up here."
Parrish made only three starts at Double-A Bowie before moving up to Rochester, where he had figured to remain the rest of the season. It would have been a natural progression for someone who began last season at lower Single-A Delmarva before advancing to Frederick and Bowie. But the Orioles, having seen enough of Holmes after five appearances (25.07 ERA) and intrigued by the prospect of putting a left-hander in the rotation, made the move.
"They're going to start using the minor leagues, which is a good thing," said Parrish, who joins outfielder Luis Matos and infielder Ivanon Coffie as players 23 or younger to join the club in the past month. "You keep developing players. Why not bring them up instead of running out and getting players or signing guys?"
He's not an imposing figure at 5 feet 11, 181 pounds. Sitting on a sofa before the first game, he easily could have been mistaken for a clubhouse attendant. But he made a favorable impression on Hargrove during a brief conversation.
"He looks you in the eye when he talks to you and he has a firm handshake. He's glad to be here. In just talking to him, I don't think he's in awe," Hargrove said.
Mercedes says he's OK
Jose Mercedes threw in the bullpen yesterday and pronounced himself ready to make tomorrow's start in Toronto. Not that he had considered missing it.
Mercedes complained of some tightness in his left side during Monday's 5-3 victory over the Florida Marlins. He pitched through it, recording his first win in the rotation since April 22. He's been receiving heat, cold and ultrasound treatments this week.
"I'm not 100 percent but I'm getting there. I'll start Saturday," he said. "I'd have to be dead not to make it."
More than they bargained for
For one night, the men in blue were also men in Orioles caps.
Last night's second game involved some frantic scrambling to assemble the four-man umpiring crew. If not for the ongoing negotiations between the World Umpires Organization and Major League Baseball at the local offices of attorney Ron Shapiro, the game may have been worked by only two umpires. Yesterday afternoon's plate umpire, Ian Lamplugh, was scheduled to work a day game today and had a flight scheduled out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Second base umpire Kerwin Danley's sore knee kept him from Game 2 after he left the opener after one inning.
Fortunately, veteran arbiters John Hirschbeck and Tim Welke were seated at a bargaining table only blocks away.
Only first-year umpires Dan Morrison and Lance Barksdale remained so a call was placed to Shapiro's offices around 4:30 p.m. Neither Hirschbeck, the union president, nor Welke, its secretary, brought their gear to Baltimore. Umpires attendant Ernie Tyler found two shirts but Hirschbeck and Welke wore their black dress slacks rather than standard grays.
Hats were impossible to find, so the two fill-ins wore Orioles hats.
"The Red Sox were told what was going on," said union lawyer Larry Gibson. "[Wearing Orioles hats] was unavoidable."
Around the horn
The Orioles announced three schedule changes. They will make up their May 28 rainout against Oakland on Sept. 19 at 1:35 p.m. as part of a day/night doubleheader. The next day's game time has been pushed up one hour, to 6:05, for travel reasons. Lastly, Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards will start at 7:05 p.m. to accommodate ESPN. ... Boston's Nomar Garciaparra was 0-for-5 in the second game to drop his average to .396.