TONIGHT: Birds will get to know Guzman in hurry in big-league debut


His name is Juan Guzman, he's 24 years old and he's from the Dominican Republic.

When the Orioles entertain the Toronto Blue Jays in the second game of their series tonight (7:35, HTS), the righthanded Guzman will make his major-league debut. He'll oppose the Orioles' Roy Smith.

The Blue Jays summoned Guzman from Triple A Syracuse the other day after their longtime ace, Dave Stieb, went on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder. Guzman was 4-5 with a 4.03 ERA and was leading the International League with 67 strikeouts.

"I faced him a couple times," said the Orioles' David Segui, who spent part of this season with Triple A Rochester. "He throws hard and has a good slider and changeup."

Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1985, Guzman was traded to the Blue Jays two years later. He won 11 games for Double A Knoxville last year, then compiled a 7-1 record in winter ball and pitched in the Caribbean World Series.

In Smith, Guzman faces a pitcher who has given the Orioles a boost. The 29-year-old righthander is 2-0 since being summoned from Rochester.

"He has won when we really needed it," said pitching coach Al Jackson. "A lot of guys have more ability, but don't know themselves like he does. He has four pitches, and needs all four, but he uses them wisely."

Jackson and everyone else on the club is glad Smith is on their side now. During the last two years he was 4-0 against the Orioles while working for Minnesota.

Jeff Robinson (3-5) will face Toronto's Jimmy Key (8-2) tomorrow (7:35, HTS) and it'll be Jeff Ballard (3-6) against Todd Stottlemyre (5-2) in a Sunday rarity, a night game (8:10, ESPN).

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