- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

BALTIMORE Catcher Izzy Molina thought for sure he was headed to the Class AA Bowie. Then the call came telling Molina to report to Baltimore.
Molina was called up late Thursday night from Class AAA Rochester when the Orioles optioned struggling right-hander Josh Towers (0-3, 7.90 ERA) to the Red Wings. It was a surprise to Molina because he was convinced Fernando Lunar would be the first catcher called up from Rochester.
"They asked me to go [to Bowie], and I thought long and hard and I said I might as well go down there and do [the Orioles] a favor," Molina said. "I was prepared to go down there. I was going to go to Double-A and catch Matt Riley and all those guys down there."
Molina, a nonroster invitee at spring training before being assigned to Rochester, hit .133 (6-for-45) in 14 games for the Red Wings this season. The Orioles opted to call up Molina because Lunar is out of options; if the Orioles call up Lunar and then send him back to the minors, he would have to clear waivers, and the Orioles aren't prepared to lose a top prospect.
"We were very fortunate to get [Lunar] through [waivers] once," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "We don't feel that we could get him through twice."
The Orioles are Molina's sixth pro club. The 30-year-old is an insurance policy with starting catcher Geronimo Gil day-to-day with groin and hamstring injuries suffered Monday in Boston and veteran backup Brook Fordyce (.034) barely hitting his age.
Molina was part of a three-man catching rotation at Rochester with Lunar and Michael Hubbard. By coming to Baltimore, he gets himself out of a logjam at Class AAA.
"I was catching every three days, and it was kind of hard to get loose," Molina said. "It's been since 1998, and the big leagues are the big leagues. This definitely brings back good memories."
Bauer gets a first
Lanky Orioles reliever Rick Bauer picked up his first career save Thursday against the Kansas City Royals. The 6-foot-6, 25-year-old right-hander has been an early surprise out of the bullpen.
Bauer (1-0, 1.38 ERA), whom Hargrove calls his backup setup man, has yielded only two earned runs in 13 innings. Coming into last night's game, the Orioles bullpen was 4-1 with a 3.89 ERA.
"We've been winning lately with the formula we've got going now, so there is no reason to change," Bauer said. "If I can help my team better in this role right now, then this is what I need to do. And if they need to call on me to start, which I'm very capable of doing, then I can make that transition. Right now, we're winning, and that's all that matters."
Who's that?
Camden Yards security has yet to figure out whether Orioles reliever Travis Driskill is a player. After Thursday night's game, Driskill tried to re-enter the clubhouse, but security at the door didn't believe he was a player. The security man wanted to know his name and demanded to see identification.
It happened again before last night's game.
"Maybe I don't look like a ballplayer," Driskill said. "But if this is the price I have to pay to be up here, I'll take it."
Driskill is one of those rare good-luck stories. He spent 10 years his entire career in the minors. The Orioles called him up April 25, and he made his major-league debut the following day. He allowed three consecutive hits to surrender an Orioles lead before settling down, going 2⅓ innings.
"I'm sort of like Bull Durham and chalk this up as the best 21 days of my life," Driskill said. "Other than my children being born, this is really exciting. I worked nine years, and [a major-league call up] happened in my 10th year."
Driskill spent seven years in the Cleveland farm system and two years with Houston before signing with the Orioles. He also pitched briefly in Japan in 1998.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide