Wings finally throw little dirt on Mud...


Wings finally throw little dirt on Mud Hens

The Red Wings have been cursed by the Wings beat the Toledo curse, 4-3, last night.

Chance took the club lead with 12 home runs and pitcher Mike Mussina won his ninth game in spite of a shaky nine-hit performance. His four strikeouts boosted his season total to 98 in 113 innings.

After last night's win, Rochester trails first-place Pawtucket by 7 1/2 games in the East Division of the International League.

"Now is the time for the players to step forward and show us what they've got and what they've learned," said Wings manager Greg Biagini. "We let 'em play. This is their showcase for the major-league teams."

The other curse for the Wings is that some of their showcase players are hurt.

Outfielder Luis Mercedes went on the disabled list with a hamstring pull last Friday. He was hitting .328 in 75 games with 27 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. Biagini said Mercedes is recovering quickly and could return within a week.

Outfielder Scott Meadows joined the DL Saturday with a hairline fracture of the left wrist. Meadows has a .329 average in 49 games. He has 52 hits and an on-base percentage of .451. Biagini said he expect Meadows to remain on the DL at least two more weeks.

Pitcher Israel Sanchez (6-2, 2.94 ERA) went on the DL Sunday with a sore elbow. Sanchez, who missed most of two seasons with arm operations, apparently has inflamed scar tissue. He could miss at least two more starts.

Outfielder Oddibe McDowell is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. Infielder Tommy Shields just returned from a hand injury. The player situation became so bad that pitcher Rob Woodward was the designated hitter in a 3-0 loss to Columbus Saturday. He went hitless.

The addition of Ricky Gutierrez, Tyrone Kingwood and Ken Shamburg from Hagerstown has helped. The Wings also picked up Tommy Dunbar, who was released by Buffalo.

Ozzie Peraza's attempt to recapture his pitching form has stalled. Peraza, the only Oriole in 1988, missed the 1989 season with a shoulder injury. He has a 2-4 record and 5.21 ERA.

"His control isn't there," said Biagini. "There's no firmness in his fastball. He used to change speeds a lot. Every pitch seems the same speed. His forkball has no zip."

@ Pitcher Stacey Burdick has the dubious distinction of setting a record for career strikeouts (309) with the Suns, breaking the mark of 307 established by Brian Dubois last year.

It's dubious because Burdick toiled for Hagerstown in 1988 and 1990 as well as this year. He would much rather have moved on; never mind career records in Double A.

Burdick carried a no-hitter through seven innings against London, Ontario, only to have Jody Hurst break it up in the eighth. Burdick was wild, but the Suns won, 5-1.

The Suns erupted for a club-record 25 runs in walloping Williamsport, tying the second highest total in the minors this season. Stockton of the California League rang up the high of 27 in May. Paul Carey and Tim Holland hit grand slams and Rodney Lofton collected five of the Suns' 23 hits.

Outfielder Ed Yacopino was named Eastern League Player of the week after diving in seven ... With two stolen bases against London, Lofton set a single-season Suns Double A record of 40, passing Mercedes' figure of 38 last year ... The Suns finnally hit a home run at New Britain after going homerless there for three years. Carey did the honors.

Doug Brown



Outfielder Mark Smith, the Orioles' first-round selection in the June free-agent draft, is scheduled to make his pro debut tonight with the Keys.

Smith, who had been working out with the Bluefield (W.Va.) Rookie League Orioles since Friday, announced he will donate $5,000 of his reported $300,000-plus signing bonus to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center Pediatric Oncology Division. His father, Dr. Douglas Smith, a cancer surgeon, has a partner who trained in Baltimore.

Smith spent part of yesterday with the Orioles at Memorial Stadium, meeting players and officials and doing interviews.

"They treated me like a king," said the former Southern Cal star. "Now it's time to get back to reality."

The Keys are still hurting at catcher. Cesar Devares is recovering from surgery for a leg infection and Ed Horowitz has a wrist injury.

The stopgap, Troy Tallman, is struggling against Carolina League pitching and can't buy a hit. He was hitless in 25 at-bats over nine games.

First baseman Mel Wearing set a Key's single-season record with his 11th home run, then was promoted to Hagerstown. He was replaced by Brent Miller, who was batting .286 for Kane County, the Orioles' other single A team, in the Midwest League.

Righthander Sergio Cairo is Frederick's hottest hitter with a .309 average. He leads the club with 20 doubles.

Doug Brown



Pitcher Bobby Chouinard is finding the Appalachian League more to his liking the second time around. Chouinard, the Orioles' fifth-round pick in 1990, has won his first three starts in Bluefield. Last year, he went 0-5 in his first eight starts before posting a pair of complete-game wins to end the season.

"I feel a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident," said Chouinard, who has a 1.74 ERA. "I'm working to get in a rhythm and get ahead of hitters."

Chouinard, a 19-year-old righthander, spent five weeks at Kane County, the Orioles' Single A Midwest League affiliate, before coming to Bluefield July 5. He went 2-4 at Kane County after working at extended spring training in Florida. "Pitching coach Tom Brown really got me going," Chouinard said. "I've got to give him most of the credit. He always stressed mound presence and being aggressive."

First baseman Doug McConathy went 3-for-3 and improved his average to .402 before being called up to Kane County Saturday . . . Leadoff batter Clayton Byrne, an outfielder from Perth, Australia, hit safely in 12 of 13 games through Tuesday. He's batting .454 (10-for-22) in his current six-game streak. Byrne and shortstop Stewart Ruiz, the second hitter and a second-year player from Caracas, Venezuela, combined for 10 of the Orioles' 19 runs scored in a sweep of Princeton.

Lefthander Rick Krivda hurled eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball in a fill-in start July 14. Krivda, an NCAA Division II All-American at the University of California (Pa.), struck out eight and walked two in dropping his ERA to 0.99 . . . Reliever Chris Lemp converted his first six save opportunities, and Brett Benge added two saves over the weekend at Princeton. Lemp is the Orioles' ninth-round pick this season out of Sacramento City College, while Benge signed last season as a 18th-round pick.

Mike Judge

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