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Hamilton won't fret over tipping pitches


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 1999

ST. PETERSBURG -- In Joey Hamilton's first appearance with Toronto on Friday, it seemed as if the Yankees' hitters knew what was coming. As it turns out, they might have.

Hamilton pitched 22/3 innings and allowed five hits and three runs. Afterward, teammates told Hamilton he was tipping his pitches with his motion.

Wednesday against the Devil Rays, Hamilton tried to correct the flaw. But he was more worried about pitching well.

"In the first inning I was concerned about it," Hamilton said. "The players were telling me even in BP (batting practice) that I was doing it. But then I stopped worrying about it. I mean, in three weeks I'm not going to be doing it, so I wasn't worried about it."

Hamilton pitched four innings and gave up two hits in the Blue Jays' 6-1 win. Hamilton, acquired from San Diego during the off-season, said he was much more comfortable in his second spring outing.

"The first time I had some tightness in my (right) shoulder," he said. "I think that's because I was throwing BP a little earlier than I'm used to. In San Diego we throw off the mound the first week and then throw BP the second week. Here, we throw BP in the first week. But this time out I didn't feel anything. I didn't have any problems."

Manager Tim Johnson liked what he saw: "Joey Hamilton has good stuff. He's a tough guy, a bulldog. This guy is going to be an outstanding pitcher for us."

OUCH: Four Jays were hit by pitches, but Johnson didn't take issue with it. "Part of the game," he said.

REASSIGNMENTS: 2B Brent Abernathy, LHP John Bale, RHP Leo Estrella, C Joe Lawrence, SS Felipe Lopez, IF Mike Peeples, LHP Ben Van Ryn and OF Vernon Wells have been re-assigned to minor league camp.

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