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De la Rosa, who might be on way out, is hit hard


SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles had an interesting situation yesterday that could happen only during spring training.

In the first intrasquad game, the losing pitcher was Francisco de la Rosa, who might not even be in the organization this time next week. De la Rosa was the player designated for assignment Sunday, when the Orioles obtained right-hander Alan Mills.

De la Rosa gave up five runs in the seventh inning, as coach Elrod Hendricks' Orange Jerseys beat Davey Lopes' Black Jerseys, 5-4.

The highlight of the game was Rick Dempsey's home run in his first at-bat as a born-again Oriole, but pitching dominated. Mike Mussina, Todd Frohwirth and Brad Pennington worked two scoreless innings each for the Black Jerseys before de la Rosa gave up five hits and five runs in the seventh inning.

Arthur Rhodes and Mike Oquist worked two scoreless innings for the winners. Rookie infielder Ricky Gutierrez had a two-run double and Joe Orsulak a two-run single to spark the five-run rally. Gutierrez went 2-for-2 and Dwight Evans had a pair of hits in four at-bats for the losing team.

Best-laid plans

The wind was blowing in on the two fields the Orioles used for batting practice yesterday, so manager John Oates decided to give the hitters a break.

"We moved over to Diamond No. 4 [where the wind was blowinout] and gave the hitters a better chance," said Oates. "They've been a little demoralized hitting against the wind."

So, an hour later, the winds shifted and were blowing in oDiamond No. 4 by the time the game began. In addition, there was a sprinkling of rain.

Signing on

The Orioles had a big day in the negotiating room yesterday.

Left-handed reliever Jim Poole and right-handers AnthonTelford, Mills and Jim Lewis agreed to terms, leaving the Orioles with 12 players unsigned for this season. No terms were announced.

Of the four new signees, only Telford was in the organization this time last year. Poole was obtained from the Texas Rangers last spring, Lewis came from the San Diego Padres in the Craig Worthington trade a few weeks ago and Mills came from the New York Yankees last weekend in a deal for two minor-leaguers to be named.

Unsigned players have until March 11 either to sign or have their contracts renewed by the club.

Early exit

Lewis looked a little surprised when he was removed in the middle of an inning during yesterday's game, prompting Oates to explain the situation.

"Nobody expects to be taken out of a squad game," said Oates, "but he's going to pitch in the first exhibition game [tomorrow], and I wanted to explain to him that 30 pitches was enough."

Oates impressed

Mussina and Rhodes impressed Oates.

"Mike threw the ball real good, and Arthur threw more breaking balls for strikes than he did the whole time he was with us last year [eight games]," said Oates.

Despite the home run he gave up to Dempsey, Gregg Olson alsdrew a satisfactory review from pitching coach Dick Bosman.

"His fastball was good, and, even though his curve wasn't sharp, it was over the plate," said Bosman.

It was a not-so-sharp curveball that Dempsey hit over thleft-field fence.


Storm Davis has been bothered by a sore heel that could keep him out of today's intrasquad game. "He hasn't missed any throwing, but we shut him down with his running today [yesterday]," said Oates. . . . Rookie OF Darrell Sherman, obtained from San Diego in the Rule V draft, checked in with the lowest body fat on the squad -- 4.5 percent. "That's incredible," said strength coach Allan Johnson. . . . It was hardly a surprise that Brady Anderson registered highest in the flexibility test. "He was a plus-10, which is about the agility of a gymnast," said Johnson.

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