Pomeranz Brings Comeback Story To Baltimore





BALTIMORE—Stu Pomeranz's first taste of the majors was brief, but the impression he made could linger.

Pomeranz, a second-round pick of the Cardinals in 2003, has battled through a series of injuries and a bout with alcoholism to again establish himself as a prospect.

Before having his contract purchased on May 7, Pomeranz yielded just two unearned runs and seven hits in 19 combined innings of relief between Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie, with two walks and an astounding 32 strikeouts. He didn't give up a run or hit in 5 2⁄3 innings with Norfolk, walking one and striking out 12.

"I've been sober 15 months," he said. "I don't drink or do anything. I'm all about baseball right now."

Pomeranz didn't allow a run in two appearances with the Orioles covering four innings. He gave up four hits, walked one and struck out three. He had options remaining and the club needed to make another roster move to get back to a four-man bullpen, which is why he was demoted. It certainly had nothing to do with performance.

"I don't know what the key is," he said. "I've just been going right after hitters and trying to get outs. That is all I'm focusing on. We worked on my breaking ball to both sides of the plate in between outings at Bowie. So far, it's working."

The Orioles signed Pomeranz, 27, to a minor league contract on Feb. 2 after they held a tryout for him at Camden Yards, and the 6-foot-7 righthander impressed manager Buck Showalter in spring training despite not receiving a formal invite.
In his major league debut, Pomeranz shut out the potent Rangers over three innings after relieving starter Brian Matusz. His fastball topped out at 96 mph.

"I didn't want to take in the moment," he said. "I didn't want to realize what I was doing until after it was done. Obviously, it's a big deal. It's my first outing in the big leagues."

BIRD SEED

• The Orioles acquired lefthander Mike Belfiore from the Diamondbacks as the player to be named in the Josh Bell trade. Belfiore, 23, had a 2.37 ERA for high Class A Visalia this season, with one save, five walks and 28 strikeouts.

• The Orioles designated Bowie infielder Zelous Wheeler and Norfolk righthander Brad Bergesen for assignment.