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De la Rosa to Yankees Mesa next?


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Francisco de la Rosa was announced yesterday as one of the players to be named in last week's trade with the New York Yankees that brought Alan Mills to the Orioles.

And there continues to be speculation that Jose Mesa, another right-hander, could be the next to go.

De la Rosa, a reliever who was injured almost the entire month after being promoted to the major leagues last September, had been designated for assignment when the Orioles obtained Mills, also a right-handed reliever. He could not be announced as part of the trade until he cleared waivers.

When that happened yesterday, de la Rosa's contract was assigned to the Yankees' Triple-A Columbus Clippers farm club. De la Rosa had given up five runs in one inning in Wednesday's intrasquad game. Last year, he was 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA and three saves in 38 games for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.

Mills has impressed the Orioles in his one week. Yesterday, he gave up one hit and struck out two in the second intrasquad game, but was the victim of shoddy fielding that led to three unearned runs.

Mesa did a de la Rosa imitation yesterday, giving up three hits, two walks and three runs in 1 1/3 innings. The big right-hander is out of options, so he cannot be sent to Rochester without going through the waiver process.

The Orioles apparently do not believe Mesa will clear waivers and are trying to work out another deal, most likely for a minor-league prospect.

"Something's going to happen, but I'm just going to keep working hard and try to make this team," Mesa said. "If not, I'll be someplace else."

Mesa said his arm is sound after a winter of rehabilitation. "There's no pain. My arm is not bothering me," said Mesa, who added that he changed his delivery at the end of last season to counteract soreness in his shoulder. Mesa opened the season as the Orioles' No. 2 starter and was 6-11 with a 5.97 ERA. He was 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA at Rochester.

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