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PRO BASEBALL / JEFF WONG : De La Maza Now a Pain to Batters

July 24, 1994|JEFF WONG

Being the hard-working sort, Roland De La Maza joined some of his fellow Columbus, Ga., Redstixx pitchers and threw a little extra one morning in early May, even though he was the starting pitcher the night before.

In the middle of his workout, the right-hander from St. Genevieve High felt pain in his pitching shoulder.

Soon he was barely able to reach home plate with his pitches, and he figured something was wrong.

"I rested a few days and came back, but I couldn't go," he said.

A doctor's examination revealed that De La Maza had tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. He was put on the disabled list for 6 1/2 weeks.

Opponents in the Class-A South Atlantic League probably wish he was still there. In 13 starts this season, he is 8-1 with a 2.72 earned-run average with the Cleveland Indians' affiliate. He has walked only 16 in 72 2/3 innings with 58 strikeouts.

"I've had a couple of rough outings," De La Maza said. "The hitters are good. But then I started doing well, and it goes to show that good pitching will beat good hitting."

De La Maza attributes his sore shoulder to overwork. He pitched only 100 innings last season at Class-A Watertown in the New York-Penn League, but instead of resting in the off-season he too often pitched to friends during recreation games.

"Now it's more of a mental thing," he said of his injury. "Sometimes, when I'm on the mound, I'm waiting for the pain to come, but it feels good once I get loose."

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Movin' on up: Pitcher Ken Kendrena was promoted to the Florida Marlins' Double-A Eastern League affiliate in Portland, Me., on July 9.

The former Cal State Northridge reliever was 5-1 with a 1.18 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 10 walks in 38 innings at Class-A Brevard County.

At Portland, Kendrena has pitched in four games, all as a reliever. In eight innings, he has a 5.63 ERA and no decisions.

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Mirror, mirror: When Manager Dave Anderson of the Class-A Jamestown Jammers decided his team needed another middle infielder at the start of the season, he chose Bryan Corey, a former standout from Pierce College.

Corey was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 1993 and played last season in Bristol, Va., in the rookie Appalachian League.

Corey reminds Anderson, a former Dodger shortstop, a little of himself during his playing days.

"He could play all infield positions, which I could do," Anderson said. "He doesn't complain about things and he's been a big plus for our team."

"He's real quiet, does whatever you ask him to do," Anderson said. "I didn't say too much, either. It's hard to say too much with Tommy (Lasorda) around you."

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You pulling my leg?: Reserve first baseman Robby Welles of Jamestown actually thought his teammates were playing a joke on him when a reporter called his hotel room in New Jersey.

"Um, can you hold on for a second?" Welles said. He then ran around the hotel to check if anyone was on the phone.

Welles hit .342 with 14 home runs and 58 runs batted in at Pierce College in 1992 before he transferred in 1993 to Pepperdine, where he suffered an arm injury.

"I couldn't even throw a baseball the whole year," he said. "I had a good year with the bat and I went in the 17th round, which is pretty good considering how I did."

Like Corey, Welles is used sparingly. Welles starts only against left-handed pitchers. But the Jammers have not gone up against that many left-handers.

This season, he is batting .200 with two RBIs and one home run in 40 at-bats.

"He's a big kid with some pop," Anderson said. "He hasn't had a chance to perform that much, but he does have power."

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