Mussina, Martinez honored for outstanding play


Rookie pitcher Mike Mussina will receive the Baltimore Orioles organization's inaugural Palmer Prize, which will be given annually to the outstanding pitcher in the minor-league system.

The Orioles also have announced that outfielder Chito Martinez will receive the Clyde Kluttz Award, given annually to the top player in the organization.

Martinez led the Class AAA International League with 20 home runs when his contract was purchased from the Rochester Red Wings on July 5. He held that lead in absentia until the final week of the minor-league season, when he was overtaken by Pawtucket Red Sox outfielder Rick Lancellotti.

Mussina was 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA for the Red Wings before he was recalled on July 30. Since then, he has been one of the most consistent pitchers on the major-league roster.

Reed rips infield

Boston Red Sox infielder Jody Reed complained bitterly about the condition of the Memorial Stadium infield after he made two errors in the same inning in Monday night's 4-3 loss to the Orioles.

"If I'm the groundskeeper, I'd be embarrassed," Reed told reporters after the game. "It's not a major-league-caliber infield. Ask anybody who comes in here or even the Orioles players. It's just a bad surface."

Reed is not the first Red Sox player to complain about the playing conditions at Memorial Stadium. Boston pitching ace Roger Clemens used to complain regularly about the condition of the mound -- which didn't sit well with former groundskeeper Pat Santarone.

If the Orioles are not happy with the infield, it hasn't shown in their defensive play. The club has committed fewer errors (84) than any other major-league team.

The defense never rests

The Orioles have a club-record string of 11 errorless games. The American League record was set this season, when the California Angels put together a string of 14 errorless games. The major-league record also was set this year, when the St. Louis Cardinals went 15 straight games without a miscue.

Davis still out

Glenn Davis remains out of action with muscle stiffness in his back. He did not take batting practice yesterday and will not be available to play until a day or two after he gets back into the cage.

Davis had hoped to play the last six weeks of the season without interruption, but will finish the season with fewer than 50 game appearances. It is not known how this latest injury will affect his marketability after he becomes eligible for free agency, but manager John Oates said it did not change his feeling that Davis will be a very productive player next year.

"I can't speak for the front office," Oates said, "but it doesn't

change my opinion. I don't know how overall baseball will perceive him."

Milligan ankle update

First baseman Randy Milligan has been back in high-top baseball cleats the past couple of days. He still is feeling the aftereffects of the ankle sprain he suffered in spring training and has had to weigh the risk of further injury against the decreased mobility allowed by the high-tops.

"I've got more mobility in the regular cleats," he said, "but there's a better chance of doing something to the ankle."

Milligan has been told that he'll need six weeks of relative inactivity during the off-season to overcome the problem, but he said he plans to work out all winter.

"I want to start a weight program right away," he said. "I'll be getting a Lifecycle, so instead of running, I'll be pedaling."

Devereaux's instruction

Outfielder Mike Devereaux's upcoming trip to the Florida Instructional League is a pretty good indication that the club plans to keep him near the top of the lineup. He'll work on bunting and base-running techniques for about a week after the regular season ends.

Devereaux has 19 home runs and 56 RBI -- almost entirely out of the leadoff spot -- leaving room to wonder whether he would be more effective batting deeper in the lineup. But even with the arrival of leadoff candidate Luis Mercedes, it appears that Devereaux will remain at or near the top of the batting order.

"I don't think you can say what his ideal spot is until you look at the lineup," Oates said. "But the things he'll be working on would be part of his game no matter where he hits."

More research from Rick

Orioles public relations director Rick Vaughn has determined that Joe Orsulak's 21 assists represent the highest total for an American League outfielder since Jesse Barfield had 22 for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1985. Only five AL outfielders since 1949 have had more than 21 assists in a season -- Barfield, Gary Ward (24 for the Minnesota Twins in 1984), Al Kaline (23 for the Detroit Tigers in 1958), Jim Rivera (22 for the Chicago White Sox in 1955) and Del Unser (22 for the Washington Senators in 1968).


Orioles relief pitchers have a 1.52 ERA in their past 47 1/3 innings. . . . Monday night's game was the 51st of the year in which an Orioles starting pitcher lasted less than 5 innings. The Orioles are 9-42 in those games.

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