SPRING TRAINING NOTEBOOK

Orioles' Sherrill Hoping to Show Better Control in 2009

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Associated Press
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

George Sherrill had his finest season in the major leagues last year, but the Baltimore Orioles' closer was disappointed in his performance despite 31 saves.

"The save numbers were good, but the other numbers weren't that great," he said. "I'm really not used to having numbers like that, so that was kind of disappointing."

Besides reaching a career high in saves, Sherrill issued too many walks and subsequently faced 57 more batters than in any other season. Getting the final three outs too often was an adventure for the left-hander, and the increased workload attributed heavily to the month he missed with an inflamed shoulder.

So, as he prepares to improve upon a season in which he pitched for the AL all-star team, Sherrill has two goals:

"Stay healthy and lower the walks," he said. "I think part of staying healthy is limiting pitches, trying to allow as few people on base as possible. I was able to scramble out of a bunch of jams last year, but it cost me."

After coming to Baltimore in the trade that sent Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners, Sherrill earned the closer's job in spring training and opened the season with six saves in six opportunities. He had 22 saves in 24 tries, along with a 2.73 ERA, on June 13. But the increased workload, and all those walks, finally caught up to him.

-- TEAM USA: Derek Jeter finally got to experience playing against the Bronx Bombers.

"It was strange running to the other dugout. I almost ran to the other side a couple times," he said.

Normally the Yankees captain, Jeter played for the United States in preparation for the World Baseball Classic and hit a two-run single in the third inning of the Americans' 6-5 victory over New York.

Jeter went 2 for 4 with a walk in a contest that "seemed like an intrasquad game" to him.


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