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At least 4 players headed to Instructional...


At least 4 players headed to Instructional League

BOSTON -- The Baltimore Orioles will send at least four major-league players to the Florida Instructional League after the club completes its regular-season schedule.

Center fielder Mike Devereaux, third baseman Leo Gomez, pitcher Arthur Rhodes and leadoff candidate Luis Mercedes have agreed to spend a week in Florida working to improve specified skills.

Devereaux will report to the Orioles compound at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota on Oct. 14 to work on bunting and base stealing. Gomez will report Oct. 10 to work on lateral movement at third base.

"Leo needs to work on anticipating and reading the hitters," manager John Oates said. "I think he has played better defense than people said he would. He hasn't shown great range, but he has a great arm and a quick release and he catches what he gets to.

"I don't know if it [his lateral movement] can be improved, but we are going to try."

Reporting dates for Mercedes and Rhodes have not been determined, but both will stop in Sarasota on their way to play winter ball.

Mercedes will be drilled in the finer points of playing the outfield, working on fielding and throwing the ball from every outfield position. Rhodes will go to work on his pitching mechanics and bridge the conditioning gap between the major-league season and the winter-league schedule.

Greenwell hurt

The Boston Red Sox might have suffered a serious blow to their pennant hopes last night when outfielder Mike Greenwell stumbled crossing first base and injured his right knee.

Greenwell was helped off the field and sent for X-rays. He has a groin-muscle strain and possible cartilage damage in the knee.

The Red Sox can ill afford to lose another front-line player. Center fielder Ellis Burks is sidelined with a bulging disk in his lower back and might be out for the season.

De la Rosa sore

Pitcher Francisco de la Rosa, who has pitched only once since he was recalled from the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, has been sidelined by back soreness.

Pitching coach Al Jackson said yesterday that de la Rosa suffered back spasms after making his major-league debut with 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 7.

Mussina's big night

Mike Mussina's first major-league complete game also was the first complete game by an Orioles pitcher at Fenway Park since June 20, 1986, when Mike Boddicker defeated the Red Sox, 14-3. It was only the seventh Orioles' complete game of the year, but the third this month.

Designated hitters

Randy Milligan's two home runs as the designated hitter Monday night gave Orioles DHs 31 homers and 99 RBI this year. That's the most home runs from a club's DH spot in the American League and the most in club history. In the past nine games, Orioles designated hitters were a combined 12-for-25 (.480) with six homers and 12 RBI.


The Orioles pitching staff had a combined 2.93 ERA over the 14-game span leading into last night. . . . The Red Sox added minor-league OF Wayne Howsie and C Eric Wedge to the roster yesterday.

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