The Baltimore Orioles signed right-handed pitcher Mike Oquist and catcher Cesar Devares to major-league contracts yesterday, bringing to 19 the number of signed players on the 40-man roster.
Oquist was 10-9 for the Class AA Hagerstown Suns last season and ranked second in the Eastern League with 136 strikeouts. Devares batted .251 with three homers and 29 RBI for the Class A Frederick Keys.
The club continues to wade through the contract season. The first Orioles arbitration hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12 with second baseman Bill Ripken. Pitcher Bob Milacki will get his day in court on Feb. 13 if he does not come to terms before then. Mike Devereaux and Randy Milligan are scheduled to face an arbitrator on Feb. 18.
Many prominent non-arbitration players also remain unsigned, including Leo Gomez, Ben McDonald, Mike Mussina and Todd Frohwirth.
* The Orioles held a press luncheon at Memorial Stadium to view this year's World Series highlight film, and took the opportunity to present the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Baseball Center with a $250,000 donation to help with the expansion of the museum.
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke attended the presentation ceremony, which made the Orioles the top benefactor in a $3.3 million corporate fund-raising campaign. The club has joined in a new five-year working agreement with the Babe Ruth Museum, under which the facility will design exhibits and provide curatorial services for the Orioles archives as well as oversee the club's Hall of Fame at Orioles Park at Camden Yards.
For their part, the Orioles will co-sponsor special events and aid in promotional endeavors for the museum.
* Former Orioles pitcher Brian Holton appears likely to sign a split contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers later this week, though he said yesterday that he has had feelers from a couple of other clubs.
"They've made me a nice offer," Holton said. "They've invited me to camp with them. I know them. I know Tommy [Lasorda, Dodgers manager]. I'm still going to talk to one other team, but that looks like the best thing for me."
The Dodgers sent Holton to the Orioles in the Eddie Murray trade after the veteran right-hander posted a 7-3 record and a 1.70 ERA against National League competition in 1988. Holton didn't have the same kind of success in Baltimore, and was designated for assignment in August 1990.