Saturday, March 03, 2007

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

...and have a $33 million contract.

From's Jerry Crasnick:

Thanks, Leo

If Russ Ortiz makes the Giants' Opening Day roster as the team's No. 5 starter, he might be calling the Baltimore Orioles' clubhouse to share the good news.

Ortiz was such a disaster in Arizona, the Diamondbacks released him with more than two years and about $22 million left on his contract. Baltimore picked him up at the urging of Leo Mazzone, who was the pitching coach in Atlanta when Ortiz won 36 games for the Braves in 2003-2004.

Mazzone, who isn't known for film study and breaking down pitching mechanics, dissected Ortiz's motion and found that he was gradually pulling in his elbow and short-arming the ball. Ortiz finished the season with an 0-8 record and an 8.14 ERA.

Ortiz threw more than 30 innings in Puerto Rico over the winter, and he's an early feel-good story in San Francisco's camp. He retired nine straight batters in his Cactus League debut against the Cubs on Thursday, and so far, at least, it appears that his ball has more life on it. Considering the depths to which he sank, anything positive is almost shocking.

"I appreciate Leo so much, to go that extra mile to help me get back to where he knows I can be," Ortiz said. "I'm a big fan of his."

Given the Orioles' typically hideous luck, Ortiz might come back and win 15 games for the Giants.

Wonder how the Diamondbacks' pitching coach feels about that. "Yeah, I could've dissected Ortiz's motion...but I didn't feel like it."


Steve Sax said...

The idea of Russ Ortiz pitching for the Giants should make any Dodger fan salivate.

Orel said...

Russ Ortiz is going to win 15 games this season. You watch.