FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 21 -- In one season with the Baltimore Orioles, outfielder Corey Patterson reestablished himself as a quality major leaguer. Just how much he will play this season likely will depend on how well he hits left-handed pitching.
Patterson, a career .229 hitter against lefties, hit just .207 last season. In case those numbers don't improve, the Orioles have signed Jay Payton, who can play center field and who hit .296 against lefties last season.
"He needs to work on sitting back a little bit, but [hitting coach Terry Crowley] has been working with him pretty regularly and he's going to continue to do that," Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He's the kind of guy that you take little steps with. We ended up getting a guy that just had a terrible experience the previous year in Chicago. The fact that we got him to do as well as he did [last] year is a big plus. Now, we try to add on a little bit and get him to do a little better against left-handed pitching and we got ourselves a player."
Patterson said he isn't sure why he couldn't hit lefties well last year.
"I think it's just a matter of seeing them," Patterson said. "When you see a bunch of righties and then you see a lefty out there it changes it up a little bit. It all comes down to seeing the ball and seeing [lefties] consistently. I don't know why [my stats] are down."
Trachsel ThrowsSteve Trachsel threw a 10-minute live batting practice session on Wednesday on the main field. "My curveball takes the longest, it always has," Trachsel said. "I'm just working on my location, working on my arm strength."
Said Perlozzo: "Again, after talking to [pitching coach Leo Mazzone], he says that he has got a good split. That's going to get some left-handed hitters, too. Maybe some teams haven't seen him, too, and that will go in our favor."
Thorne on Their SideThe Mid-Atlantic Sports Network announced Wednesday that ESPN veteran Gary Thorne will be the lead play-by-play man for its Orioles telecasts.
Thorne will be joined by a trio of color commentators: Jim Palmer, Buck Martinez and Rick Dempsey. Additionally, Dempsey will co-host, along with Jim Hunter, the pre- and postgame shows. Amber Theoharis, a former sportscaster for Fox 45 in Baltimore, will be the sideline reporter.
A Taste Before Grapefruit
Perlozzo said he hopes to play at least two intrasquad scrimmages before the start of Grapefruit League games on March 2.