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Mills is ready to give elbow final...


Mills is ready to give elbow final '92 test

Reliever has been out since Sept. 13

CLEVELAND -- Alan Mills has pronounced himself fit for a final weekend test and probably will pitch an inning in one of the Orioles' next two games.

"He was available last [Wednesday] night, and said he'd like to pitch an inning before the season ends," said Orioles manager Johnny Oates.

"If we're going to use him, I'd like to do it before [the final game] Sunday so we could monitor how he reacts," said Oates.

"I wouldn't want him to pitch the last day, then go home and us not know how he reacted the next day."

Mills, who is tied for third in the American League with eight relief wins, has been sidelined since Sept. 13 with what has been described as an "irritation" in his right elbow. If he makes one more appearance, Oates said it will be under severe restraints.

"He will be under close scrutiny -- he'll throw about 15 pitches and that'll be it," said Oates.

Gomez update

The dislocated shoulder that knocked Leo Gomez out of the lineup for the last week of the season will also keep the Orioles' third baseman out of winter ball this year.

The shoulder problem is considered a chronic condition for Gomez, who is scheduled to go on a strict weight program this winter.

"They say weights can do the same thing as surgery -- and surgery is guaranteed six months [recuperation time]," said Oates.

Oates has suggested to the club that Gomez be brought to Baltimore (from his home in Puerto Rico) so that he can be monitored during the off-season.

Gomez finished the season with a .265 batting average, 17 home runs and 64 runs batted in. All are better than his numbers of a year ago (.233, 16, 45).

Frohwirth hoping to stay

Todd Frohwirth, who figures to be one of the players on the fringe, is hoping he'll be one of the 15 players protected by the Orioles in the upcoming expansion draft.

"I want to be back next year," said the right-handed reliever. "I like it here."

Horn counting down

When he was asked if his injured side had ended his season, Sam Horn had a unique reply.

"Mathematically, no," he said before last night's game, noting PTC there were four games remaining.

Realistically, there is virtually no chance that Horn will play again this year. He hasn't swung a bat since pulling a muscle in his right side Sept. 11.

Getting better all time

Before last night, the Orioles and Indians both showed a 20-game improvement over a year ago, when the Orioles won 67 games and the Indians 55.

Cleveland has shown gradual improvement throughout most of the season. The Indians were 8-15 in April, 11-16 in May, 12-15 in June, 13-13 in July, 16-12 in August and were 15-12 in September.

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