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Orioles pick up two, lose two in Rule V draft


The Orioles' organization gained two players and lost two others yesterday during the Rule V draft.

In the major-league portion of the draft, the Milwaukee Brewers selected pitcher Jose Mercedes off the Rochester roster. Mercedes, 22, is the first player the Orioles have lost in that fashion since outfielder Andres Mora in the late 1970s.

As the Orioles did with Sherman Obando last summer, the Brewers must keep Mercedes on their major-league roster all of 1994 or offer him back to Baltimore for $25,000.

"We would have liked to have protected him, but just ran out of room," said Orioles scouting director Gary Nickels. "He has a fine arm. It's just a question of whether he can stick in the majors."

The Orioles also lost outfielder Mike Thomas, their third-round pick in 1990, to the San Diego Padres.

Thomas did not play baseball last summer. He is a skilled quarterback-punter at North Carolina.

The additions were pitcher Steve Chitren and outfielder Jim Austin.

Chitren, a Stanford graduate and ex-teammate of Mike Mussina, spent portions of 1990 and 1991 with the Oakland Athletics, going 2-4 with a 3.58 ERA.

Austin, taken from the Montreal system, was pestered by injuries most of last summer at Class-A West Palm Beach. He played in only 33 games, batting .236.

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