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Trade fallout: Red Wings must rebuild their outfield

As the Orioles gained a powerful cleanup hitter, the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings lost two-thirds of their starting outfield and their two top base stealers.

The Orioles dealt their top prospect, Alex Ochoa, and Damon Buford to the New York Mets for Bobby Bonilla on Friday and forced the Red Wings to plug holes in the outfield.

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"We traded two great players to get a great player for our #F big-league club," Rochester manager Marv Foley said. "We were fortunate to have guys valuable enough like Alex and Damon who get other organizations to show such interest."

Since the trade, Rochester patched together an outfield of recently demoted Mark Smith in left, utility infielder Rod Robertson in center and Sherman Obando in right. The results have been mixed.

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Smith, the lone remaining outfielder who started Opening Day for Rochester, had been 1-for-7 since his return but hit a home run last night.

Obando's shift from designated hitter to right hasn't caused major problems defensively and hasn't hurt his offense. He has hit in 13 consecutive games, raising his batting average 60 points to .296.

On Sunday, Foley decided to use Jim Wawruck, whose bad shoulders have limited his ability in the field, as his starting center fielder. Wawruck went 3-for-5 in his first appearance in the field for the Red Wings, and is batting .317.

Rochester has had nine regular starting outfielders this season. It has lost its four top base stealers, including current Orioles Curtis Goodwin and Jeff Huson.

Star for a day

It seems as if Gregg Castaldo always has watched from the background.

A lifetime .241 hitter, Castaldo has worked his way through the Orioles' organization as a reliable part-time middle infielder.

Castaldo, the Orioles' 29th-round pick in the 1992 draft, spent most of the past two weeks with the Double-A Bowie Baysox behind Juan Bautista after backing up recently injured Matt Howard for most of the season. When Edgar Alfonzo was activated and Bautista was sent to the Single-A High Desert Mavericks, Castaldo remained a reserve.

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But soon after his activation Sunday, Alfonzo learned that his wife was in a minor car accident in which no one was hurt. As Alfonzo went to the hospital to see his wife, Castaldo entered the starting lineup just before the first pitch.

He went 3-for-4, hitting his first two home runs of the season, driving in five runs, scoring four times and stealing a base. Castaldo had hit only 10 home runs in 681 career at-bats.

Berrios finally heats up

Harry Berrios, the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Year in 1994, is 10-for-33 during the past two weeks for the Frederick Keys, improving his batting average to .190 -- the closest he has come to .200 this season.

Berrios, an eighth-round pick in 1993 out of Louisiana State, has three home runs in that stretch and 11 for the season, which he has split between Bowie and Frederick.

Last season, Berrios came one home run short of possibly becoming the first minor-leaguer to produce 20 home runs, 100 RBIs and 55 steals. But this season has mirrored 1993, when Berrios batted .207 for the Single-A Albany (Ga.) Polecats in his first minor-league season.

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He started 1995 at Bowie. After collecting two homers and 21 hits in 113 at-bats (.186), he was optioned back to Frederick on May 16.

Around the horn

With last night's 6-4 victory over Pawtucket, Rochester moves into first place of the International League East, a half-game ahead of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Ottawa. . . . The Red Wings play 21 of their final 33 games at Silver Stadium. . . . Brad Tyler's grand slam in the ninth inning on Sunday lifted Rochester past Charlotte. It was the first grand slam by a Red Wing since Scott Coolbaugh hit one at the end of the 1993 season. . . . Tyler, who has only four homers in his past 44 games, leads Rochester with 14 home runs. . . . Brad Holman, who was signed as a free agent after being released by Seattle, had a peculiar stint with Rochester. He lasted 1 2/3 innings, giving up four unearned runs on five hits in his debut and only start for Rochester. He was released Monday. . . . Armando Benitez gave up two home runs last week, one of which put Rochester behind in the eighth, but has six saves and a 1.37 ERA. Benitez also has struck out 32 and walked seven in 19 2/3 innings. . . . Only two pitchers in the Red Wings' rotation -- Jimmy Haynes and Kevin McGehee -- were with the Orioles' organization last year. . . . Robertson has played every position except pitcher this season. . . . Buford's 14-game hitting streak ended when he was removed after one at-bat when the trade occurred Friday. . . . Ochoa was 5-for-11 with three runs scored and one stolen base in three games for Norfolk, the Mets' Triple-A affiliate. . . . Bowie and Rochester swapped left-handed pitchers, as Jimmy Hurst moved to the Red Wings and Aaron Lane went to the Baysox. Hurst, who was released by Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 12, pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his debut for Rochester.

Two Bowie starters left games early last week with injuries. Doug Harris pitched one-third of an inning after cutting the middle finger on his pitching hand, and Garrett Stephenson removed himself after six innings with a strained back. Both are expected to make their next scheduled starts. . . . Billy Owens and Scott McClain, the Baysox's No. 4 and 5 hitters, combined for 34 hits, rTC 11 home runs and 36 RBIs in a 12-game homestand. But the tandem then went 0-for-18 in a three-game series at Trenton.

The Keys, who are last in the Carolina League in batting (.232) have won four straight for the second time this year. . . . Calvin Maduro, one of five Arubans the Orioles have signed in the past five seasons, is 4-0 and has a 1.60 ERA in his past five starts. . . . Infielders David Lamb and Jesse Garcia both are in slumps. Lamb has two hits in his past 35 at-bats (.057), and Garcia has four in 47 (.085) with 11 strikeouts.



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