Palmer lends helping hand to Cabrera

The Baltimore Sun

CHICAGO -- As he always does, pitching coach Leo Mazzone stood back and to the right as Daniel Cabrera worked through his bullpen session before last night's game. However, Mazzone and Cabrera also had company.

Seeking to get the struggling pitcher back on track, Mazzone invited Orioles broadcaster and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer to the bullpen to get a closer look at Cabrera. Palmer was extremely active during the bullpen session, frequently talking to the pitcher and demonstrating his advice.

Mazzone maintained that he isn't concerned about Cabrera, who has lost three of his past four decisions and given up four earned runs or more in five of his past six outings. But he also said it made sense to have another pair of eyes on Cabrera, especially when those eyes belong to a man with 268 career wins and three Cy Young Awards.

Cabrera, who will make his final start before the All-Star break Sunday, is 6-9 with a 5.15 ERA through 18 starts. Entering last night, he led the major leagues in walks and earned runs allowed. He was second in hit batsmen and eighth in home runs allowed. His nine losses are one off the American League lead.

Mazzone points to his 115 1/3 innings pitched, the seventh-highest total in the league going into last night, as proof Cabrera is making progress.

"I think in 14 of Daniel's 18 starts, he's gone six innings or more," Mazzone said. "He's out there giving this team a chance to win a lot. ... I always thought as a starting pitcher when you are way up there in innings pitched, that means you're doing something pretty darn good or otherwise you wouldn't have the innings pitched."

Mazzone again reiterated that he'd never give up on the pitcher.

"Absolutely not. He's got a great arm," Mazzone said. "Daniel is only 25 [26], but baseball-wise, I think he's younger than that. When you have an arm like that, certainly the ability to go a high level is there. We'll continue to strive to reach that."

Foot keeps Mora idle

Interim manager Dave Trembley had Melvin Mora penciled into last night's lineup, but the third baseman approached him before the game and asked if he could be held out. Mora has not played since bruising his left foot in a game-ending collision with Los Angeles Angels catcher Mike Napoli on Sunday.

"He's played long enough and knows himself," Trembley said. "He'll be ready to hit again if we need him. I'd like to get him in there before the break because he's been playing so well."

Mora said his foot was getting better, but it affected him too much when he tries to field.

Around the horn

Freddie Bynum got his second straight start at shortstop and contributed two hits, just as he did Wednesday. Trembley said he met with Bynum after the team recalled Brandon Fahey and told him he remains very much in the team's plans. ... Scouting director Joe Jordan said that the club has started talks with first-round draft pick Matt Wieters, but nothing is expected to be finished for several weeks. ... On a rehab rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Bowie, Danys Baez gave up one run (on a home run) and one hit, while striking out two in one inning last night.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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