Inside Pitch: 05/07/07

In this edition of the Inside Pitch, we get updates on the newest rash of injuries and check in with Todd Williams, who was unexpectedly optioned to Norfolk to start the season.


Maybe sending right-handed reliever Todd Williams to Triple-A Norfolk was a good way to teach him a hard-to-learn lesson.

Manager Sam Perlozzo pointed out on Sunday, just 24 hours after Williams had been recalled from his minor league post, that going into spring training he told all the players that nobody's spot on the roster was a sure thing.

Perlozzo seemed to think that Williams didn't take that comment as seriously as he should have. The veteran reliever, who had been with the Orioles throughout the 2006 season, didn't pitch as well as the club thought he could in the spring, and he was sent to Norfolk.

"It wasn't easy to send Todd out, but I didn't think he pitched his best in the spring. We've seen better from him. He may have just been working on some stuff and assuming that he had a job," Perlozzo said. "We said in the beginning, we told everybody, 'Don't assume you've got anything around here.'

"He might have taken it a little lightly, but he went down and did what he was supposed to do. He was a veteran guy who went down and said, 'OK, I want to get back up.' And, when the need came, Williams did get the call."

"It wasn't hard to accept the fact that other guys threw great in the spring," Williams said on Sunday. "That's not a problem. It wasn't an issue with anybody or being out-pitched to make the team, but it was frustrating.

"I worked so hard over the winter and thought I did what I had to do in spring training. I came in in good shape and continued to do my workout program," said Williams, who wondered out loud whether his attempts to work on certain aspects of his game might have backfired on him.

What Williams did know was that he wanted to get back to the major leagues, no matter which team might want what he had to offer, but he hoped he would get back with the Orioles.

"I had to channel everything into trying to pitch well and hopefully get back to the big leagues with somebody. But obviously, the best situation was right here." He said.

INDIANS 9, ORIOLES 6: Brian Burres started his first major league start by striking out the side, but he gave up one run in the second and a series of hits in the fourth, including a ball that hit the edge of the grass and changed direction, a softly hit roller that just made it past second base between infielders knocked him out of the game with the bases loaded. Reliever Kurt Birkins' first pitch was lined off the wall and three more runs scored. Birkins gave up three more in a rocky fifth inning and Todd Williams allowed another in the eighth.

Ramon Hernandez had his second straight four RBI game, three on an opposite field double with the bases jammed in the third. He also had three of the Orioles' 15 hits, but with the club leaving nine men on base, that wasn't enough. Three singles and a sacrifice fly got the Orioles two more runs in the eighth but that was all they could muster. until getting a solo run in the ninth.


--RHP Todd Williams was recalled from Class AAA Norfolk when starter Adam Loewen was put on the DL with a stress fracture of the left elbow.

--C Ramon Hernandez had this third four-RBI game and second in succession on Sunday giving him 14 RBIs in nine games this season.

--LHP Brian Burres made his first major league start on Sunday against the Indians. He struck out the side in the first inning, but was knocked out after 32/3 innings and suffered the loss.

--DH Aubrey Huff struck out in each of his first three at bats against southpaw C.C. Sabathia before getting two hits to get his average back to a mediocre .246.

--1B Kevin Millar, who went through a stretch with three hits in 10 games, got his first multi-hit game on Sunday since April 14 giving him 1,002 career hits. He reached the 1,000 mark on Saturday.

BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- RBIs in a game by Ramon Hernandez on Sunday for the third time in the nine games he played this season. He also has 11 hits since being activated from the disabled list on April 26.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's been a real crazy month. Everything in Norfolk, from the weather to the travel ... to put it lightly, was kind of miserable. It's good to be back here." -- RHP Todd Williams on being recalled from Class AAA Norfolk after his surprising and disappointing demotion out of spring training.


MEDICAL WATCH:LHP Adam Loewen (left elbow stress fracture) was placed on the disabled list May 4 and will miss roughly three months. RHP Jaret Wright (tight right shoulder) was activated from the disabled list on April 29 and felt more shoulder pain after pitching three innings that day. He went back on the 15-day DL on April 30. RHP Scott Williamson (tight right triceps tendon) went on the 15-day disabled list on April 24. UT Jason Dubois (pulled hamstring) was hurt on March 30 and started the season on the disabled list. RHP Kris Benson (rotator cuff) had surgery on March 20. He is on the 60-day disabled list, and he will miss the entire season.

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