Gomez is happy to be playing every day ... even in Rochester Minor-league report


ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Red Wings third baseman Leo Gomez shows nothing but determination as he takes extra batting practice and extra work in the field.

"I am happy to play every day," said Gomez, who saw little action in his short stint with the Orioles this spring. "When you play every day, something good will happen. Nothing good can happen sitting on the bench."

Gomez hit an RBI single last night against the Louisville Redbirds, his 13th RBI with the Wings. He had raised his batting average to .250 before last night's game, batting .364 in a nine-game stretch.

"He is just starting to feel comfortable at the plate again," said Wings manager Greg Biagini. "His stance was too wide open and he was too far from the plate. We've worked on that. In the last six games, he's had quality at-bats every time he's up."

Gomez's improved play parallels Rochester's recovery from a long losing stretch. The Wings have won seven of 12 after losing eight consecutive games.

* Pitcher Mike Mussina ended a personal three-game losing streak with a 7-2 win Tuesday night against the Redbirds. He struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings. Mussina, who missed two starts when he was on the disabled list with a sore, tight shoulder, was pulled after throwing 118 pitches.

Biagini said Mussina still needs to work on keeping his pitches down.

* With last night's loss to Louisville, pitcher Anthony Telford has lost four consecutive decisions. In his three starts before last night, Telford had a 6.53 ERA.

"He's still young. He has to learn consistency, control of his body and control of his pitches," said Wings pitching coach Dick Bosman. "He'll work his way through this."

* Outfielder Luis Mercedes returned to the Red Wings lineup this week after a 10-day forced vacation. Mercedes was sent home during the recent road trip for lack of hustle and other unnamed problems. Mercedes met with Orioles officials in Baltimore last week. No one is talking about the problems with Mercedes, who has been called one of the best prospects in the Orioles' minor-league system.

"It's done and over with," Biagini said. "But he'll have to earn his job back."


HAGERSTOWN -- The Suns are back home at Municipal Stadium, after losing 12 of their last 21 road games. They play host to Williamsport tonight, London on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and New Britain on Tuesday and Wednesday before venturing out on the road again. All home games start at 7:05 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2:05 on Sundays.

* Outfielder Paul Carey has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, hitting .357 (17-for-48). He has five doubles, two home runs and 10 runs scored in the streak.

* Doug Robbins has reached base safely in 22 of his 24 starts, and his on-base percentage is .515. He's batting .400 in his last 14 games.

* Ken Shamburg has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games, batting .328. At his current pace, he will finish with 49 doubles this season. No one has hit more than 35 doubles in an Eastern League season since 1979, when Howe Sportsdata began keeping Eastern League stats.

* Pitcher Chris Codiroli, a righthander, is the latest addition to the Suns. He pitched in 138 major-league games for Oakland and Cleveland, and won 12 games for the A's in 1983 and 14 in 1985. Last season Codiroli, 33, pitched for Memphis and Omaha in the Kansas City Royals' organization.


FREDERICK -- The work of three relief pitchers has been the highlight of the Frederick Keys' pitching staff this year. Their performances have overcome some inconsistencies by the starters on the Orioles' Single A Carolina League team.

Lefthander Daryl Moore is 1-1 with a 1.43 ERA. Moore, who signed as a free agent in 1989, has three saves and was an emergency starter in one game, allowing just one run in four innings May 23 against Lynchburg. Dave Riddle, a righthander who's trying to master the knuckleball, is 0-2 with a 1.88 ERA and two saves. Mike Hook, the hardest thrower of the group, is 0-1 with a 2.17 ERA. Hook came over to the Orioles from the California Angels in the Dave Gallagher deal. His biggest problem has been his control (25 walks in 29 innings).

* First baseman Mel Wearing is the Keys' first legitimate power hitter. He has seven home runs and 33 RBIs while batting .257 in 45 games. Last year he hit 20 home runs, 18 in Single A Wausau and two in Frederick. His biggest improvement this year has been his fielding.

* The best hitter on the Keys is Sergio Cairo (.324). Damon Buford -- son of Don Buford, the Orioles' director of field operations and instruction -- is hitting .290 after flirting with .400 the first month of the season. Catcher Ed Horowitz is hitting .289, and shortstop Manny Alexander is hitting .286. The Keys have 57 steals, second best in the league, 18 by Alexander and 14 by Buford.

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