- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 19, 2001

BOSTON Rarely is it possible for a baseball player with as many as 200 at-bats to raise his batting average 18 points in a 24-hour span. Then again, when you've had the kind of season Brook Fordyce has, there's really no place to go but up.
Stuck below the Mendoza line through much of the season, the Baltimore Orioles catcher has finally found his stroke in August. After a 4-for-5 performance Friday night in the Orioles' 11-5 thumping of the Boston Red Sox and a 2-for-3 showing yesterday, Fordyce found himself the owner of a robust .444 average this month and in the course of 24 hours raised his season average from .205 to .223.
"I've been changing things, trying things, and for whatever reason it wasn't feeling comfortable earlier," said the 31-year-old veteran, who batted .322 in 53 games with Baltimore last year. "The last week or two weeks, it felt comfortable, and I've been able to do some things. It's just a battle to the end of the season to finish on a high note."
It looks like Fordyce will be given more opportunities down the stretch. He made a rare second straight start yesterday and has been in manager Mike Hargrove's lineup four of the last five days. Fernando Lunar had briefly assumed the role of No. 1 catcher on the Orioles' roster, but the two figure to split time the rest of the way.
"Right now, we don't have a No. 1 guy," Hargrove said. "[Fordyce] really has swung the bat better and better each day. So maybe he's coming out of this thing. He's too good a hitter to be hitting .200 all year.
More bullpen changes
The Orioles' ever-changing relief corps underwent another facelift when right-hander Kris Foster was optioned to Class AAA Rochester and Jorge Julio was recalled.
Foster, acquired July 31 from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mike Trombley trade, had a 3.60 ERA in four appearances with Baltimore and exhibited control problems, walking five batters in five innings. Hargrove said Foster can get more work at Rochester than he could have with the Orioles, though it's likely he'll return to the big leagues Sept. 1, when rosters are expanded.
Julio, a 21-year-old fireballer, is in his third stint with Baltimore, having appeared in three games previously. His addition to the bullpen extends a season-long makeover that seemingly has included a roster move every week or two. The Orioles already have utilized 17 relievers, one fewer than in the entire 2000 season.
Extra bases
Still feeling the effects of an ear infection that has plagued him for nearly a week, first baseman David Segui sat out the game. Segui started Friday night after three straight days off, but continues to feel weak and dizzy and was given yesterday off… .
The game featured a rarity as both leadoff hitters from the previous night batted third. Baltimore center fielder Melvin Mora moved down for his fourth start in the 3-hole. Boston's Trot Nixon also went from first to third in the lineup after center fielder Carl Everett suffered a sprained knee Friday night.

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