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Hamstrung Hammonds won't make club

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Orioles manager Johnny Oates said yesterday it's unlikely Jeffrey Hammonds will play in any more games for the team this spring.

"Probably not this season," Oates said when asked if last year's No. 1 draft pick would get in any more exhibition games. That would indicate Hammonds will be sent to the minor-league complex next week.

"His [left] hamstring is still only about 85 percent," Oates said yesterday of the promising young outfielder. "He ran for me today and said he still has a little knot in there.

"I'm not going to take a chance and play him before he's ready," said Oates, who indicated two weeks ago that Hammonds was in the running for a spot on the major-league roster. Yesterday the manager seemed to refute that possibility.

Asked if the hamstring injury had removed Hammonds from the picture, Oates said: "No."

Still sensitive to criticism that they rushed Ben McDonald, the Orioles will stick to their pre-spring game plan and start Hammonds with the Double-A Bowie Baysox, who will play this year at Memorial Stadium.

Mussina goes five

Mike Mussina yesterday became the first Orioles pitcher to go five innings this spring. The right-hander allowed two hits and a run in the first, then blanked the Twins on three hits in the next four innings.

"I felt good, not great," Mussina said.

It was the second straight win for the Orioles (9-4) and improved their record against American League teams to 6-1. Harold Reynolds, Brady Anderson, Mike Devereaux and Mark Parent each had a run-scoring single for the Orioles, the latter driving in the winning run in the seventh inning.

The Orioles collected nine hits, none for extra bases, while the Twins (8-6), who were playing without Kirby Puckett and Brian Harper, had eight. Fernando Valenzuela will make his first Orioles start today against the Phillies and attempt to go five innings. The left-hander will be on a limit of about 50 pitches.

Ben McDonald, who normally would have started, will do his throwing in a game at the minor-league complex.

$4 tickets for April 2

The Orioles announced yesterday that all reserved and general admission tickets for the April 2 exhibition game against Pittsburgh at Camden Yards will be sold for $4.

About 22,000 tickets have been sold for that game, with approximately 25,000 still remaining. The Orioles will make a refund to any fans who already had purchased reserved or general admission tickets at full price.

On the hitting front

A fourth-inning single by Leo Gomez was only the second hit in 21 at-bats for the third baseman.

Glenn Davis (0-for-2 plus a walk) played for the third straight day. "He's right on schedule," said Oates.

The seven runs scored in the second inning of Wednesday's game against the Tigers was as many as the Orioles have scored in any of their 13 exhibition games.

Around the horn

Arthur Rhodes will start tomorrow afternoon's game against the Pirates.

The Orioles' ticket office, which cut off season-ticket sales in the vicinity of 27,500, reports that advance sales for 1993 already have reached 3 million.

Yesterday marked the midway point in the Florida portion of the Orioles' preseason schedule. They will play their final two exhibitions in Baltimore and Washington, April 2 and 3 against the Pirates.

Oates has declared that Monday's off day will be just that, with no uniformed personnel scheduled to be at the training complex.

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