Latino Sports writer Rich Mancuso catches up with Daniel Cabrera after his impressive outing at the Stadium and if patience is a virtue, the Orioles have certainly proved it with the coming of age of a formidable pitcher. NEW YORK – When Daniel Cabrera the Baltimore Orioles right handed pitcher from San Pedro de Macoris Dominican Republic appeared on the Major League Baseball scene in 2004 the fastball was impressive. There were strike outs, plenty of walks, and trouble at times finding the strike zone.

It was, though an impressive rookie season, enough to gain votes by the baseball writers to finish third in balloting for American League Rookie of the Year. Three years later, the 26-year old with a 95 mile fastball has become what Orioles management expected. Cabrera has become their ace on the mound and getting better after every outing.

“He has a purpose of what he does,” said Orioles manager Dave Trembley after Cabrera won his team high fifth game (5-1) pitching seven innings, on five hits and two runs which helped the Orioles to a commanding 12-2 win over the Yankees at the Stadium Tuesday evening.

Cabrera has become a nemesis to the Yankees since his debut. Pitching at Yankee Stadium has been successful, now 3-3 with an ERA under 3.79 in the Bronx over seven starts. As Cabrera said with a smile, “Maybe it’s the Dominican food in New York that does me good.”

All kidding aside it is Cabrera’s persistence to become a better pitcher. “He doesn’t get rattled and he’s grown up,” said Trembley who would know better than anyone about his starting pitcher. Before Trembley became manager this season he watched Cabrera develop as a bullpen and bench coach with the Orioles.

“You guys have watched him develop like I have watched him,” commented Trembley. “He’s grown up; he’s a different guy.” The Yankees know Cabrera has matured, so does the rest of the American League as Cabrera Tuesday for the third time this season did not issue a walk in a game.

And suddenly there is another dominating pitcher from the Dominican Republic that throws strikes and has a commanding fastball Last season Cabrera made his push to be that more dominant with a career high 34 starts, tied with seven others for the American League lead, though the 18 losses going along with 9 wins came with a career high 166 strikeouts.

So the velocity of his fastball got better, and this spring, pitching Coach Richard Kranitz worked with Cabrera on his command and location. The walks have dwindled and Cabrera is one of the leading pitchers in the American League, more importantly a pitcher that is leading a young Baltimore staff.

“They worked with me,” said Cabrera about his coaches that have led to the early season success. “I throw the ball down the middle of the plate and see what happens. I just work hard and hope to get better all the time.”

As for his success against the Yankees, Cabrera doesn’t make much of it, even if the food in New York is to his liking. Her got the start of a three game series against New York and got plenty of run support early, as Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina would give up seven runs in the first inning.

The only runs he allowed were off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. A two run homer in the sixth inning, the first pitch from Cabrera a fastball that went deep to right-center. It was the sixth home run for A-Rod on a night he returned from the disabled list and third home run Rodriguez has hit off Cabrera.

“That’s always good,” said Cabrera about the run support, “but it won’t happen all the time.” He has also learned how to adapt to the media attention, speaks English well, and realizes how important it is to be one of the rising and exciting pitchers in baseball from the Dominican Republic

To that he says, “Baseball is the number one sport in the country and everyone knows how to throw a ball. But you have to work hard to get here and get comfortable.”

And indeed Cabrera is comfortable with his role and progress. And the Orioles could not be happier about the way he has evolved into a formidable pitcher.

Edited/Posted by WGR

About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]