- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005

It’s not often a minor league baseball player gets his call to the big leagues while sitting in a Myrtle Beach, S.C., hotel. Few make the jump from the Carolina League to the majors, Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh not withstanding.

But when the Baltimore Orioles needed an outfielder last month, they called up Jeff Fiorentino from Class A Frederick. Fiorentino, a 2004 third-round pick from Florida Atlantic, became the third player from last year’s draft to reach the majors and the first hitter after relief pitchers Houston Street of Oakland and Cla Meredith of Boston.

“It was unbelievable just being in that locker room,” Fiorentino said. “Half of the team is All-Stars. The amount of talent they have is unbelievable, and the fact that I was there trying to do the same thing they were was awesome.”

Fiorentino might have been an emergency fill-in when he debuted May12, but he hit well enough to stick around for a few weeks. He singled in his first four major-league at-bats before cooling off, finishing with 11 hits in 44 at-bats before returning to Frederick.

His first home run came May 20 off Philadelphia’s Randy Wolf. Even Fiorentino admits his future is not in the middle of the order, but he has hit 18 home runs in 365 minor league at-bats.

“I had a little success while I was there, and I’ve got a couple of things I need to fine-tune now that I’m back here,” Fiorentino said. “I just need to tune everything up a bit depending on the type of hitter I’m going to be. I’m not going to be a No.3 or 4 hitter. I’m probably going to be a No.2 hitter or a No.8 or 9 hitter, so I’ve got to work on my hit-and-runs, making contact, my bunt, my steals. I need to improve everything a little bit, but I’m young and there’s time.”

Fiorentino said the biggest adjustments were not on the field. One such change was wearing suits on the plane during road trips.

“[Miguel] Tejada went out and bought me some suits,” Fiorentino said. “I went out and got myself a sports coat for the first flight, and after that Tejada was like, ‘Fiorentino, we’re going shopping.’ Then he took me shopping.”

Farm notes — After spending a week with Washington, Tyrell Godwin returned to Class AAA New Orleans and continued to hit. Godwin went 0-for-5 in his first game back but is 15-for-32 with two homers and three stolen bases in his last nine games. …

One Nationals prospect who isn’t hitting is Class A Savannah outfielder Rogearvin Bernadina. His batting average has been slipping for much of the last six weeks. Bernadina is 3-for-24 in his last six games, dropping his average to .205. …

First-round pick Ryan Zimmerman’s signing bonus of $2.975million is the richest in organization history, topping 2000 first-round pick Justin Wayne’s $2.95million bonus. …

Fourth-round pick Justin Maxwell is considered to be a first-round talent, but he has missed almost two full college seasons at Maryland with injuries. He has another year of eligibility left and likely will cost more to sign than an average fourth-rounder. Not having a second- or third-round pick could mean there is more money available for Maxwell, who was drafted out of high school by the Orioles and last year by the Rangers without signing.


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