If Ryan Finan could do anything differently this season, he'd add another month of June to the calendar.
For the second time in two years, Finan was chosen as the Orioles' minor league Player of the Month for June. A corner infielder at Single-A Frederick, he batted .343 with 10 RBIs and a .930 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).
"Maybe the weather starts to get hot," he said. "I don't really like playing in cold weather. I'd rather sweat when I play. But I don't know. Maybe after 100, 150 at-bats, that's when I start to get going. Maybe it's just coincidence."
The only change, he hopes, occurs this month. After being honored in 2006 while playing at low Single-A Delmarva, Finan batted .182 in 26 games in July. He seems to be faring better this time, however, hitting .382 with three homers and eight RBIs in nine games heading into the weekend.
"Last year was a terrible, terrible July," he said. "Maybe I was pressing a little bit. You learn from stuff like that. I just told myself, 'Come out and take it pitch by pitch,' instead of worrying about how many hits I need to get this month. I tried to make it as simple as possible."
The Orioles selected Finan, 25, in the 21st round of the 2004 draft out of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, the same school that produced Kevin Millar. They've moved him from first base to third, and he has committed 16 errors - though 13 came in the first two months.
"I'm real happy with the way my swing's going right now, and even my defense," he said. "Early on, everything was real shaky. It took me a little while to get comfortable. I had a [hamstring] injury in spring training and then I got hit in the wrist in April, so I really didn't feel like the season got going for me until early May when I started to get consistent at-bats."
Frederick manager Tommy Thompson has batted Finan in six spots in the order, including once at leadoff. Most of Finan's at-bats have come as the fifth hitter. Overall, he entered the weekend with a .292 average, nine homers and 44 RBIs.
"He's swung the bat extremely well and he's getting better and better as the season progresses, which is tough to do. Especially in this league, where there's only seven other teams and they know you like a book," Thompson said. "He's made tremendous strides. He's a very intelligent kid."
Cory Doyne set the single-season franchise record for saves with No. 27 in Friday's 3-0 win over Ottawa. He failed only once in 28 opportunities heading into the weekend. ... Mike Cervenak's 104 hits also set a franchise record, breaking Kevin Elster's mark. ... Tike Redman reached base safely in 22 consecutive games. .. J.R. House went 0-for-2 in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Doyne recorded the save. ... Jim Hoey had a 1.65 ERA in 12 games.
Going into the weekend, Val Majewski was batting .344 with 15 RBIs and a .932 OPS with runners in scoring position and two outs. ... First baseman Luis Jimenez was batting .476 with seven RBIs in a six-game stretch. He had a .902 OPS in 45 games this season. Jimenez hit .254 in May, .318 in June and .400 in seven July games. ... Nick McCurdy, who routinely flashes a mid-90s fastball, was 1-2 with a 1.57 ERA, one save and 17 strikeouts in 12 games.
The Orioles signed outfielder Brent Krause from the independent St. Paul Saints and assigned him to the Keys. Krause doubled twice and drove in two runs in his debut. ... David Hernandez (107) and Chorye Spoone (81) continue to rank first and third, respectively, in strikeouts in the Carolina League. Hernandez was 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA and 14 strikeouts in his previous two starts covering 12 innings before struggling on Friday, when he allowed four earned runs (five total) in 3 2/3 innings.
Billy Rowell hit a walk-off home run in the 13th inning to win Friday's game. ... Tim Bascom, the Orioles' fourth-round pick in this year's draft, allowed one run and four hits in seven innings in Friday's game, leaving his ERA at 1.93. He walked four and struck out five. ... Brandon Snyder was batting .400 in his past 10 games before the weekend. He had 22 multi-hit games.
Aberdeen shortstop Tyler Henson led the team with 27 hits going into the weekend. ... Zach Britton picked up his first professional win Friday after holding Williamsport to one hit over 5 2/3 innings. ... Wally Crancer batted .480 with two homers during an eight-game hitting streak. ... Bluefield third baseman Matt Tucker led the Appalachian League with 16 extra-base hits and was tied for the lead with 10 doubles. He ranked second with a .410 average and 26 RBIs. ... The Gulf Coast Orioles' Luis Noel is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.