- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. The Baltimore Orioles effectively named Calvin Maduro their fifth starter yesterday when the right-hander's two primary competitors were sent to the team's minor league camp.
Sean Douglass and Rick Bauer, a pair of rookies who had been in the running for the final spot in the rotation, were optioned to Class AAA Rochester along with reliever Kris Foster. Shortstop Eddie Rogers was optioned to Class A Frederick, while non-roster infielder Howie Clark was re-assigned to the minor league camp.
That leaves the 27-year-old Maduro as the sole survivor in the spring battle for the No.5 starter's job, though manager Mike Hargrove will not make an official announcement until the final week of camp.
"I don't think it's any secret that Calvin Maduro has done everything but win the spot in the rotation," Hargrove said. "I think it's kind of been a forgone conclusion for a while."
Maduro, who made 12 starts for the Orioles last season, has been outstanding this spring, allowing one run and nine hits in 12 innings of work. Though the job appears to be locked up, he still isn't taking anything for granted.
"It's not like we have two more days to go and the season's starting," Maduro said. "If it was, I'd say, 'OK, I got the job.' But there's two more weeks to go. A lot can happen in two weeks."
Douglass, 22, and Bauer, 25, both looked impressive at times this spring and could have made the Opening Day roster in the bullpen. But Hargrove said he would rather see the two right-handers start every fifth day in Rochester, with the possibility of an in-season call-up.
"They need to pitch," Hargrove said. "While the option is still there to move one of them into one spot in the bullpen, we feel like getting them down and getting them to pitch innings is an important part of making us better down the road."
Foster entered camp with a chance to be part of the Orioles' closer-by-committee rotation, but the 27-year-old right-hander has been working on a new, less-violent pitching motion, and his velocity has suffered for it.
With Foster, Douglass and Bauer out of the mix, Baltimore's bullpen is beginning to take shape as well. Willis Roberts, Jorge Julio, Buddy Groom and B.J. Ryan are assured spots, and left-hander John Bale and right-hander Chris Brock appear close. That leaves one long-relief spot, with non-roster invitee Rodrigo Lopez the front-runner heading into the final week of spring training.
"He's done nothing really to make us think he can't pitch here," Hargrove said.

More Achilles' trouble
First, David Segui went down with a strained Achilles' tendon. Now, outfielder Chris Singleton is suffering from a similar injury.
Singleton, the Orioles' starting center fielder, has a strained calf and Achilles' tendon that will keep him out of action at least until the weekend, possibly longer.
Hargrove said yesterday he is prepared to rest both Segui and Singleton the rest of spring training if need be.
"We want to make sure [Segui] and Singleton are ready to go," Hargrove said. "They both have 30-35 at-bats. I don't want to rush them back to get them more at-bats and end up losing them two weeks into the season."
Singleton said he's not worried about missing Opening Day.
"I think after a good, solid five-to-six days of treatment and recovery, I'll be over the hump and it'll be gone," he said. "It could actually be a good thing that it happened when it did, because that will give me this week to straighten it out. If it happened a week later, then I'd be in a tough position for Opening Day."

O's beat Twins
Sidney Ponson allowed one unearned run in six innings, and Geronimo Gil hit a two-run homer in the Orioles' 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins yesterday.
Ponson will next pitch on Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which puts him on schedule to start the third game of the season against the New York Yankees. Scott Erickson is on pace to start Opening Day, with Jason Johnson between him and Ponson.
Gil, who continues to make his case for the starting catcher's job, clubbed a two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh to break a 1-1 tie. Gil is batting .370 with five RBI this spring.


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