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Control problems haunt Rhodes Wildness marks rehab assignment


Arthur Rhodes has hit a snag, namely a lack of control, on his way to returning to the Orioles starting rotation after knee surgery.

Rhodes, who is on a rehabilitation assignment with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, has had a hard time finding the plate and has been wild enough to give manager Johnny Oates cause for concern.

"The first thing he's got to do is pitch well. He's not throwing enough strikes. He's going too deep in the count," said Oates.

Though he has struck out 18 in his three Red Wings starts, Rhodes has walked 10 and thrown four wild pitches in 10 innings, and opposition hitters are batting .297 against him.

In his most recent outing, a 4-0 loss to the Ottawa Lynx on Thursday night, Rhodes gave up a run and struck out seven in four innings.

But he also walked seven and threw four wild pitches among 94 pitches on an evening when he had a limit of 95 to 100 pitches.

Rhodes is eligible to return from his 30-day assignment early next month, but Oates held out the possibility that he could remain at Rochester after the assignment is over because he still has minor-league options.

Gomez frets about future

Leo Gomez, on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left wrist, can't help thinking about his predecessor at third, Craig Worthington.

"What happened to Worthington, I don't want it to happen to me," Gomez said. "He got hurt, I came from Triple-A and took his job. I don't want anybody taking my job."

Gomez was in a 10-for-101 slump before going on the DL with tendinitis in his left wrist. Tim Hulett and Mark McLemore are filling in at third, and if those two prove inadequate, the Orioles might consider trading for a third baseman. The club reportedly is pursuing Cincinnati's Chris Sabo.

Gomez plans to return to the Orioles' lineup quickly, perhaps even next week. He could have had surgery to remove a cyst from his wrist. But faced with a six-week layoff, Gomez told club physicians, "Forget it, give me some medicine."

Cycle in sight

Unlike Harold Reynolds the night before, center fielder Mike Devereaux was aware that he had a chance to hit for the cycle when he came to the plate in his last two trips.

But Devereaux, just like Reynolds the night before, couldn't produce the triple to go along with an earlier single, double and home run.

Still, Devereaux, who singled in the sixth and walked in the eighth, had a pretty good night, going 4-for-4.

"I knew about it [the cycle]," said Devereaux. "But I wanted to get something good to hit. I didn't want to swing at just anything."

Devereaux, who extended his current hitting streak to six games, is hitting .407 during that span.

Incentive clause

Barring complications, everybody's favorite All-Star manager, Toronto's Cito Gaston, will get a close look at the pitcher he didn't use Tuesday night.

Mike Mussina is due to pitch the first game of the Orioles' two-game set with the Blue Jays on July 27-28 at SkyDome.

Stormy weather

Former Orioles pitcher Storm Davis visited the Orioles' clubhouse briefly before last night's game.

Davis, who signed a two-year, $1.8 million contract with Oakland as a free agent after spending last season in Baltimore, left the Athletics this week under mutually acceptable terms.

Davis, who makes his home here and called on his friend Glenn Davis, negotiated a settlement with Oakland over the last year of his deal, leaving him free to strike a deal with any team.

"I'll play with anybody. I need to play," said Storm Davis.

General manager Roland Hemond said he spoke with Davis' agent, Ron Shapiro, this week, but nothing substantive emerged.

"I told him [Shapiro] our pitching was OK for now and we were OK at Rochester. We'll just let it ride at that," said Hemond.

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