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Eastern League notebook
Bowie's Spoone returning to form in front of family, friends
06/15/2010 9:40 AM ET
Chorye Spoone is 5-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 13 starts this season.
Chorye Spoone is 5-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 13 starts this season. (Bowie Baysox)
Chorye Spoone's mother decided to spell his name so differently from anyone named Cory, he'd never be confused with someone else and would always stand out from the crowd.

Of course, many Baltimore-area baseball fans knew the correct pronunciation of Spoone's first name before the right-hander was even selected by the Orioles in the eighth round of the 2005 Draft.

"I grew up going to Baltimore to watch Cal Ripkin and Rafael Palmeiro play," said Spoone, a native of Pasadena, Md. "To be drafted by my hometown team was so unbelievable at first. I remember getting the call and running outside to tell my dad, who was out talking to a neighbor. 'Dad, I just got drafted by the Orioles!' I felt like it was fate."

Before the professional ranks came calling, Spoone starred at Maryland's Northeast High School, followed by a few years at nearby Catonsville Community College.

These days, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder plays for the Bowie Baysox, Double-A affiliate of the Orioles. He and his wife live within 15 minutes of both Prince George's Stadium and Camden Yards and just 20 minutes from Pasadena, where Spoone's parents still live.

During any given Baysox home game, Spoone's likely to have a crowd of at least four and often as many as 10 family members and friends attending the game. When he pitches every fifth day, his cheering section often swells between 25-50 people.

"There's always so many people coming out to support me," Spoone said. "Even if I'm having a tough night and there's a heckler out there, I can't hear him."

But Spoone's path to the Majors took a turn in 2008 when his right shoulder began to bother him. What was initially diagnosed as tendinitis did not respond well to rest and rehab, and it turned out to be a labrum tear. When the noted Dr. James Andrews performed surgery, he also found a 30 percent rotator cuff tear.

Hanging up his spikes never crossed Spoone's mind during the injury and rehab process. He returned to the mound in July 2009 and pitched at three different levels that season, starting with the Gulf Coast League.

"I knew I had to keep trying, because [baseball] is what I was put on this earth to do," said Spoone, a member of the Orioles' 40-man roster.

In 2010, his sixth professional season, Spoone is 5-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 13 starts for Bowie. But most importantly, he is healthy, pain-free and close to regaining the velocity and sharpness that could help him climb the organizational ladder to his final destination in Baltimore.

"The way I feel now, I think I'm just two or three starts away from being back to where I was before," he said. "I feel like I'm knocking on the door."

In brief

Did you know?: In the second game of a doubleheader Thursday, Harrisburg's Chuck James, Cole Kimball and Zech Zincola combined on the league's first no-hitter this season. James threw the first five innings and struck out seven, including six consecutive, while surrendering just one walk as the Senators beat the Curve, 1-0. The 28-year-old is 5-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 10 games this season between Harrisburg and Tripe-A Syracuse as he continues to recover from 2008 shoulder surgery. During four Major League seasons, James went 24-19 with a 4.48 ERA in 64 games with the Braves. He signed a Minor League contract with the Nationals in late January.

Akron breaks record: The Akron Aeros set a new franchise mark last week with a 12-game winning streak. The previous mark of 11 consecutive victories was set in June 2002. Starting pitching has been a big reason the Aeros have turned things around after a sluggish start to the season. In recent weeks, LHPs Kelvin De La Cruz and Nick Hagadone and RHP Alex White have joined the team from Class A Advanced Kinston and helped the Aeros go from last place to third in the six-team Western Division.

Doing it all: Richmond RHP David Mixon turned in a quality start and homered Monday as the Flying Squirrels claimed the finale of a four-game series from Reading, 7-2, to snap a four-game losing streak. With the game tied, 1-1, in the third inning, Mixon belted his first career home run to put the Squirrels up by a run. He finished matters on the mound, limiting the R-Phils to two runs over seven innings for his seventh win of the season.

Close but no cigar: Trenton RHP D.J. Mitchell took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Saturday, inducing 13 groundouts while holding Binghamton hitless for 6 2/3 innings in the Thunder's 6-0 win. ... In Akron's 10th consecutive win Thursday, LHP Eric Berger took a no-hitter into the seventh while striking out seven over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. In front of the home fans, Berger busted out of a funk that had seen him go 0-2 with a 10.66 ERA in his three previous starts at Canal Park.

Stephanie Storm is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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