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Obando has numbers, but gets no calls from Orioles


ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The opportunities have arisen, but Sherman Obando has not received the call.

While the Orioles have summoned outfielders Damon Buford, Mark Smith and Bruce Dostal from the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings at various times, Obando has quietly gone about the business of pounding the baseball.

Obando, a Rule V draft choice from the New York Yankees before last season, batted .272 in 92 at-bats with the Orioles in 1993, during which they were required to keep him in the major leagues.

He is still hitting, enough to be a Triple-A All-Star Game starter and the International League's Player of the Month for June.

But the problem remains: Where do you play him defensively?

In 1992, he was a first baseman in the minors, but Rafael Palmeiro now has a firm grip on that major-league spot. He has been an outfielder the past two seasons but has a lot of work to do there.

"Getting breaks are probably his biggest weakness out there," said Red Wings manager Bob Miscik. "He's never had a full minor-league season in the outfield, and injuries have kept him out of some starts there this year. And it's hard to get him a lot of time because we have four outfielders here on the major-league roster."

The situation has Obando, 24, wondering whether he figures into the Orioles' future.

"In this game, nothing surprises me," he said. "But the chances to go up came and they didn't choose me. All I've done basically for them is DH. I thought there would be a four-man outfield platoon here, but it hasn't gone that way. First base? I don't take any ground balls there now because with Palmeiro there long term, there is no chance."

Klingenbeck hurt

Practically nothing has gone right for Scott Klingenbeck since June 2, the day he halted an Orioles skid by pitching them to a victory over the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards.

Since being returned to the Double-A Bowie Baysox the next day, he is 0-3 in seven starts, though in four of those he went six innings and gave up two or fewer runs.

Now, the right-hander is on the disabled list with elbow problems.

Polecats flooded out

Floods that have ravaged the Southeast have made it impossible to reach the Single-A Albany (Ga.) Polecats' stadium, where waters have crested in the parking lot.

"The ballpark is fine, but no one can get there," said Lee MacPhail, assistant director of player development and scouting.

The team was on a 10-day trip until Monday and was scheduled to open a home series against the Fayetteville Generals tonight.

"Until the water recedes, they can't play there," MacPhail said. "The tentative plan is to play at Chattanooga [five hours from Hickory, N.C., where they were stranded], which is owned by the same owner. Fayetteville is also an option."

This and that

Paul Carey's return to Rochester this week from the Single-A Frederick Keys gives the Red Wings a left-handed bat. Of their 74 homers in the first 88 games, only eight came from lefties. Recovering from a broken wrist, he batted .377 for the Keys with six homers in 15 games. . . . The Wings won, 5-1, in 4 1/2 innings in Arthur Rhodes' first game back. His return meant a trip to the bullpen for John O'Donoghue. . . . Mark Smith struck out in 14 straight games in a streak that ended Saturday. The next day, he had five RBIs. . . . Rochester released infielder Shane Turner, who hit .195 in 28 games. . . . T. R. Lewis, recuperating from a broken finger, is learning to play left field at the minor-league complex in Florida. He has been unable to throw properly since fracturing a shoulder blade in an auto accident five years ago. . . . Jimmy Haynes returned to Bowie after starting three games for the Wings. He lasted 2 2/3 innings Sunday and permitted six runs (four earned). It was his second straight shelling after a strong debut.. . . . Brent Miller, who had asked for a trade or release because of a glut at first base, was released from the Baysox. He hit .296 with 28 RBIs, but his playing time had diminished. . . . In two starts at Bowie, Garrett Stephenson lost, 2-1, and pitched a four-hit shutout. Frederick placed outfielder Kim Bartee and catcher B. J. Waszgis on the Carolina League Northern Division All-Star team. Pitcher Jim Walker (ulnar nerve) is off the Frederick DL. . . . The Rookie-level Bluefield Orioles' Chris Kirgan, this year's 15th-round draft pick, hit for the cycle in a 16-3 win.

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