New arrival Buford is hit with Rochester Narron is hoping to be able to keep him

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- It took Jerry Narron all season to get center fielder Damon Buford, and now the Rochester Red Wings manager doesn't want to give him back.

Buford, called up July 25 when Tommy Shields joined thOrioles, took a five-game hitting streak into Friday night.


Shields returned to Rochester on Friday, leaving Narron with minor-league manager's most pleasant problem -- too many good players and not enough room for them.

"We're going to do our best to keep Damon," Narron said.


Buford ingratiated himself in his first game, going 1-for-3 with stolen base. He has gone hitless in just one of his seven starts, and three of his four stolen bases have come on pitchouts.

Narron said he had his eyes on Buford, 22, since spring trainingDespite a .280 average and 65 stolen bases in two seasons of Single-A, the Orioles didn't want to rush Buford to Triple-A in his third pro season.

The fact that Buford was batting .239 (with 41 stolen bases) fothe Double-A Hagerstown Suns justified the organization's caution.

Narron said Buford needs to improve his on-base percentag(.310 at Hagerstown) to make full use of his speed.

"If he gets on base, we can definitely manufacture some runs," the manager said.

Buford, like designated hitter Mel Wearing and left-hander John O'Donoghue before him, made an immediate impact upon joining the Red Wings.

He created a run out of a single in a game against the TidewateTides. After reaching on the hit, he stole second, moved to third on Doug Robbins' fly ball to right field and scored on Doug Jennings' fly to medium center field.

"I'm not carrying them," Buford said after contributing to threwins. "I'm going to ride the wave up here more than me creating a new wave."


* The Red Wings eventually will get a catcher to take MarParent's place on the roster, but all 23 players will have to fill his role on the team.

been both physically and emotionally a big lift for us. He's been our leader with the bat, on the field and off the field," Robbins said of Parent's promotion Thursday.

Parent ranked third in the league in homers (17) and second in RBI (64).

MISCELLANEOUS: P Jim Poole has allowed seven homers in 24 innings pitched. . . . Bob Milacki has allowed a homer in each of his three starts. . . . Jennings went 5-for-6 with five runs scored, but drove in only one run in a 19-5 victory over Tidewater. . . . Yacopino assisted on two double plays in a 9-0 loss to Richmond. . . . Wearing's hitting streak stopped at 14 games, but he has hit in 16 of his past 18 games. HAGERSTOWN -- After rallying to charge into contention for a playoff berth, the Hagerstown Suns are in danger of dipping into last place in the Double-A Eastern League.

They completed their recent homestand with a 3-7 record and the season series against the first-place Binghamton Mets with four victories in 20 meetings.

That was their worst showing against any team since 1989, when they had a 4-16 record against the Albany-Colonie Yankees.


MISCELLANEOUS: Of the 25 pitchers the team has used this season, only two, Erik Schullstrom and Jeff Williams, remain from Opening Day. Sixteen pitchers have started games. . . . OF Mark Smith has six triples, one shy of the club record set by Vic Hithe in 1989. . . . C Mickey Billmeyer, the first Hagerstonian to play for the franchise, went 0-for-7 at the plate in his first two starts.

Kent Baker

Bulls bring out best in Keys


FREDERICK -- If the Frederick Keys could play the Durham Bulls all season, they'd win the Single-A Carolina League title in a walk.

They completed their season series Friday night with a 13-3 record against Durham and averaged better than seven runs in the series. The Keys won 13 of the final 15 games.


MISCELLANEOUS: Rick Krivda is 2-0 with the Keys since his promotion from Kane County, where he was leading the Single-A Midwest League in wins and strikeouts. . . . Doug McConathy's 12-game hitting streak was broken Thursday. He batted .413 during the surge.

Kent Baker