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PRO BASEBALL / JEFF FLETCHER : As Summer Nears, Eager Lamb Hopes to Spring to a Real Team

May 01, 1994|JEFF FLETCHER

Shortstop David Lamb has had his fill of spring training. It's May, for heaven's sake.

"I'd definitely like to be somewhere else," said Lamb, who is in the Baltimore Orioles' extended spring training camp in Sarasota, Fla. "I'd like to be playing in front of some fans. Hopefully, I won't be down here too long."

He might not be.

"We are pleased with his progress at this time," said Doug Melvin, the Orioles' director of player development. "He has impressed our people with the way he handles himself, both on and off the field. He shows real good hands and good knowledge and feel for the game.

"People say he reminds them a little of how Cal Ripken plays. He has real sure hands, positions himself well and has a good arm."

Lamb, a second-round pick in 1993 from Newbury Park High, is playing in extended spring training rather than for a minor league club because he signed in mid-July last year and played only 16 games at rookie-level Sarasota, Melvin said. But he is playing well enough this spring that he could be moved up within the next few weeks to Class-A Albany, Ga., Melvin said.

The biggest adjustment for Lamb has been hitting with a wooden bat. He hit .179 in 56 at-bats at Sarasota last year. No official statistics are kept during extended spring, though Lamb said he is hitting over .300 and hit his first home run last week.

"Last year there was no way I could have hit a home run," he said. "I just wasn't used to the wood bat. I couldn't get it through the hitting zone."

Lamb was one of the Orioles' prospects called up to play in a major league exhibition game in March, and he made an impression.

"You can just see it in his face that he's all baseball," Melvin said. "He has a real desire to get to the big leagues."

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Waiting in the wings: With the Angels' pitching staff lugging around a 5.27 earned-run average, left-hander Andrew Lorraine (Hart High) can't be far from the majors.

In his first full professional season, Lorraine is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in four starts at triple-A Vancouver.

"He's throwing very well," said Gary Ruby, Vancouver's pitching coach. "He seems to be adjusting very quickly to the triple-A level. For a young pitcher, usually it is a pretty big jump."

A big jump, indeed. This time last year Lorraine was a junior at Stanford. After the Angels made him a fourth-round pick, he was assigned to Class-A Boise, Ida., where he was 4-1 with a 1.29 earned-run average in six starts. He was invited to the Angels' major league camp this spring, and he might not be far from rubbing elbows with major leaguers again.

Said Ruby: "At the rate he's going, I think after the first half of the year (he will be ready to contribute at the major league level)."

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That's one: Nearly five years after the Seattle Mariners made him the third selection in the 1989 amateur draft, Roger Salkeld (Saugus) recorded his first major league victory.

He pitched 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball against the New York Yankees on Thursday night.

"Finally getting the win is a big weight off my shoulders," Salkeld told the Associated Press.

Salkeld, who was making his first start at the Kingdome and fourth of his major league career, gave up two hits, struck out three and walked five.

"I guess you could call it effective wildness," Salkeld said. "I'm happy with my performance because we won, but I was a little wild at times."

Salkeld's outing was "rewarded" by a demotion to triple-A Calgary on Friday. But the move was simply because the Mariners have two off days next week and the team wants him to pitch on a normal four days' rest. He will pitch Tuesday night at Calgary, then return to the major league club and start against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

Salkeld underwent career-threatening reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder in October 1992.

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What ever happened to. . . .?: Sam Minyard (The Master's) has retired. A 1993 draft pick of the Florida Marlins, Minyard pitched eight innings in Class-A Elmira (N.Y.) last season before arm problems ended his career. . . . Casey Burrill (Hart) also has retired. Burrill, who had shoulder surgery while at USC, spent last season in Class-A Idaho Falls, Ida., after the Atlanta Braves made him a 27th-round pick in June.

Jim Vatcher (Cal State Northridge) is playing for the New York Mets' triple-A team in Norfolk, Va. . . . Jerry Willard (Hueneme), who played in the 1991 World Series with the Braves, is playing for the Mariners' triple-A team in Calgary. . . . Still in extended spring training are 1993 draft picks Derek Swafford (Ventura) of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Nate Dishington (Hoover) and Tighe Curran (Thousand Oaks, Ventura College) of the St. Louis Cardinals and Bryan Corey (Thousand Oaks, Pierce) of the Tigers.

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