VERO BEACH, Fla., March 29 -- The Baltimore Orioles' best reliever this spring may be the one who does not have a role. John Parrish has outpitched several of his teammates, but a numbers crunch in the bullpen leaves his situation unsettled.
Parrish, who threw a scoreless inning in Tuesday's 4-3 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, has a 1.50 ERA, better than B.J. Ryan, Jorge Julio, Steve Reed and Steve Kline, all slotted ahead of Parrish.
_____From The Post_____
A strong spring has moved Daniel Cabrera up two spots in the rotation.
Notebook: The O's may not have a role for John Parrish.
Several teams have inquired about Parrish, and some believe the 27-year-old left-hander is a future closer. Parrish said part of his success so far this spring is due to a change in his delivery. He now throws almost exclusively out of the windup when pitching with no runners on base.
"I'm in a comfort zone right now," Parrish said. "This is a big year for me as far as fixing my mechanics and learning the windup."
Parrish said pitching coach Ray Miller and Manager Lee Mazzilli suggested he stop throwing out of the stretch.
"We just talked about slowing me down," Parrish said. "I tend to get too fast and that's when my balls get up."
Parrish, who started his career as a starter, has been a reliever for only two seasons. Last year he went 6-3 with a 3.46 ERA in his first full year in that role. Parrish said he won't worry about his role this year.
"That's for them to decide," Parrish said.
Meantime, Mazzilli said he is close to a decision on the fifth spot in the rotation. The favorite appears to be Rick Bauer, who will start Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals in Oklahoma City. Matt Riley, considered the leader at the start of spring, pitched one scoreless inning of relief on Tuesday.
Taking Their Hacks
Enrique Wilson was hitless in two at-bats Tuesday, lowering his average to .340.
Chris Gomez was 4 for 4 yesterday against the Dodgers, raising his average to .327. He appears to have solidified the backup infielder job.
Gomez is signed to a major league deal, meaning the Orioles would have to pay his entire salary if he were released. Wilson, signed to a minor league deal, can be released without any future financial obligations.