Whether it's days, months or years between starts, the greatest concern for Cannons pitcher Britt Reames isn't so much the time he spends on the mound but the time he spends off it.
Reames is scheduled to try yet again to come back from the recurring elbow problems that have sidetracked his career the past three seasons. The right-hander, whose last appearance was June 10, is a likely starter against Winston-Salem either Tuesday or Wednesday.
"We're making sure I'm ready this time," said Reames, who made no appearances the past two summers and only four this season after being named the St. Louis organization's minor league pitcher of the year in 1996. "The main concern is can I recover after pitching five or six innings? It's all about recuperation."
And probably will be for the foreseeable future.
"It's going to be like that for him until he reaches the point where he feels comfortable and his arm feels comfortable," Potomac Manager Joe Cunningham said. "He's probably going to have ups and downs. You just hope it's not so drastic that it will keep him out of a start or two."
Reames, who turns 26 this month and is the oldest Cannon, felt fine after throwing four and five innings in recent simulated games, and he has pitched well in his four real game appearances--posting a 1.69 earned run average with 10 strikeouts and yielding nine walks and eight hits in 16 innings. In his first two professional seasons, he went 20-13 with a 2.20 ERA, 272 strikeouts and 68 walks.
"I'm just lucky I'm still here," said Reames, who has a business degree from The Citadel. "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be."
Down but Not Out
For the first time in his baseball career, Cannons shortstop Jack Wilson is a little tired. He is in his first full professional season after batting .373 in the short-season Appalachian League last year.
"I've never gone to the baseball field and been a little fatigued like I have been lately," said Wilson, who has just five hits in his last 28 at-bats. "It's something I need to go through. It's good for me to see what I can do when I'm a little fatigued. It's going to happen the rest of my career, playing a long season."
Wilson has been trying to eat better, drink the occasional energy shake and sleep for sometimes as long as 12 hours. He was alert enough Friday afternoon to rake in $18,700 playing a clubhouse boy's portable "Wheel of Fortune" video game.
"I was really proud of myself," Wilson joked.
In Other News . . .
While the baseball season is winding down for Reames and first baseman Luke Quaccia, football season is just beginning for their younger brothers. Joe Don Reames is a freshman wide receiver at Clemson and Zack Quaccia is a starting sophomore left guard at Stanford.
. . . Left fielder David Kim batted .438 on the recent six-day road trip, with three homers and two doubles. But the game he probably will remember most was the one Thursday when he grounded into three double plays in a 3-2 loss. "I figure if Andy [Bevins] had gotten on first in the last inning, I probably would have hit into a fourth one," the self-deprecating Kim said. Potomac hit into five double plays that game.
. . . Cunningham takes a little piece of home with him wherever he goes: The screen saver on his laptop is an image of his horses in Missouri.
. . . Andy Bevins needs eight home runs the final month of the season to break the franchise record of 28 set by Nate Dishington (1997) and Hensley Meulens (1987).
. . . William Ortega has hit safely in the past 10 games and is batting .452 (19 for 42) during that stretch. The outfielder also leads the team with a 57-game errorless streak.
CAPTION: Battling fatigue has become Jack Wilson's latest challenge. The Cannons shortstop, in his first full pro season, is beginning to feel the wear and tear.
CAPTION: Britt Reames, whose elbow injuries have hampered him for three seasons, might return this week.