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TONIGHT: After some work on mechanics, Rhodes tries to get it in gear


Since his last start, Arthur Rhodes has had nine days to contemplate his introduction to the big leagues. Depending on how you look at it, that could be good or bad.

But at least the 21-year-old lefthander, promoted from Double Hagerstown three weeks ago, has had a chance to get some private tutoring from Orioles pitching coach Al Jackson. "Right now, the big thing is to get his mechanics down so he can establish his release point," said Jackson. "That's what we've been working on with him."

Rhodes (0-2, 13.09) will make his fourth major-league startonight as the Orioles continue their series against New York. Eric Plunk (2-3, 4.73) will start for the Yankees.

"At this point, we just want to get him to where he can throw hifastball in the strike zone," said Jackson. "We haven't gone beyond that. Just get it anywhere in the zone and then go from there."

Until this year, Rhodes had been brought along very slowly bthe Orioles. The second-round 1988 draft pick split last year between Single A Frederick and Double A Hagerstown, striking out 163 in 153 innings.

He was 7-4 at Hagerstown this year, before manager John Oateurged a late-season crash course to get an early line for next season. In his three starts since his promotion, Rhodes has pitched only 11 innings, allowing an equal number of hits and runs (16).

"What he needs more than anything is to have a little success,said Jackson. "Something he can build on."

Oates says he has seen potential and progress with Rhodes -who is scheduled to get at least one more start (Sunday against Cleveland) -- but will continue to monitor him very closely.

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