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In O's fold, Spoone heads for Bluefield


Chorye Spoone, a right-handed pitcher who was the Orioles' eighth-round pick in the recent draft, signed last week and has been assigned to Bluefield (W.Va.), which opens its Appalachian League season for rookies tomorrow.

The Bluefield Orioles open on the road with a three-game series against the Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins, a Minnesota Twins affiliate.

Bluefield's home opener is set for Friday against the Danville Braves.

Spoone, who is from Pasadena in Anne Arundel County and has a 94-mph fastball, signed for bonus money in the $75,000-$80,000 range.

"Chorye got eighth-round slot money and was here to turn in his uniform today [Friday] and is really excited about going out and playing at Bluefield," said Orioles scout Dean Albany, who coaches the Maryland Orioles' 20-and-under team and lost Spoone off his amateur team's pitching staff.

Spoone, an All-Anne Arundel County selection at Northeast High who was on the Eagles' Class 3A state championship team in 2001 as a sophomore, pitched the past two seasons at CCBC-Catonsville.

Selected as a draft-and-follow in the 36th round by the San Diego Padres in 2004, Spoone, who is 6 feet 2 and 215 pounds, chose not to sign.

It proved to be a wise decision.

"I think he will do great," Albany said. "He has good stuff. He was a little heavy in high school but worked hard to lose a lot of weight.

"He's 90 to 94 with a good curveball. His changeup is not bad, but he doesn't throw it enough. Once he gets down there with the minor league pitching coordinator, Doc Watson, his changeup will get better."

Triple-A Ottawa

The Lynx swept the Richmond Braves in a doubleheader, 2-1 and 4-0, Saturday to run their International League record to 36-31, good for second place in the North Division, five games behind Buffalo.

With an ERA of 3.93, third-best among the league's 14 teams, and the fifth-best team batting average of .274, the Lynx are getting contributions from many players.

Starters John Maine, Rick Bauer and Tony Fiore turned in strong performances last week, while the Lynx's bullpen has a 2.25 ERA over the past 28 games.

Maine (6-4, 3.24) four-hit Richmond, 4-0, for his third straight win Thursday, striking out six and walking none. Fiore (3-2, 3.86) also stopped Richmond, 4-0, on a four-hitter Saturday. Earlier in the week, Bauer (2-4, 3.53) shut out the Toledo Mud Hens, 5-0, on a two-hitter.

Three Lynx batters are in the league's top 20. Bernie Castro (.328) is sixth, followed by 11th-place Bobby Darula (.317) and 18th-place Napoleon Calzado (.306).

Double-A Bowie

After winning three in a row, left-hander Eric DuBose has lost three in a row, giving up at least five earned runs in each outing.

DuBose, who had won his previous two starts against the Eastern League's Southern Division-leading Akron, fell to 5-7 Friday with a 5-2 loss to the Aeros.

Giving up all five runs on eight hits in six innings, DuBose saw his ERA climb to 3.50.

On the bright side, left-hander Brian Forystek (2-5, 4.22) worked five innings Saturday, giving up four hits and an earned run to record an 8-3 victory over the Aeros. It was only the sixth win for the Baysox in 19 games against the Aeros.

Simon Pond hit a three-run homer in the seventh after Omar Rogers had homered earlier for the Baysox, who improved to 16-19 on the road.

Sendy Rleal, who has taken the place of Chris Ray as the Bowie closer, threw a hitless, scoreless ninth against Akron to lower his ERA to 1.49 in 36 1/3 innings. Rleal is 2-2 with four saves.

Bowie's hitters are led by Woody Cliffords(.283) and Tripper Johnson (.281).

Single-A Frederick

Mario Delgado, the Keys' leading hitter at .342, with 10 homers and 32 RBIs, is expected to return to the lineup today after serving a 15-game suspension as a first-time offender of the performance-enhancing drug policy.

The Keys are 34-35 in the Carolina League's Northern Division after losing, 6-3, Saturday night to the Potomac Nationals (31-35) in front of 7,085 in Frederick.

The Keys have won seven of their past 11 games.

Branden Florence (.286) hit two homers in a 3-2 win over Potomac on Tuesday.

Josh McCurdy (.254) scored three runs and knocked in five with a single, triple and homer in a 9-4 triumph over the Winston-Salem Warthogs on Wed- nesday.

Outfielders Nick Markakis (.283) and Jeff Fiorentino (.280) have been consistent with the bat for the Keys, while James Johnson (5-4, 3.49) and Chris Britton (4-0, 1.84) have been steady on the mound.

Single-A Delmarva

Left-handed closer Dave Haehnel recorded his 16th save, tops among the Orioles' minor leaguers, on Thursday in a 5-4 victory over the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Haehnel has been a bright spot for the Shorebirds, who are 30-39 in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.

In 33 innings, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Haehnel, who was the Orioles' eighth-round pick in 2004 out of the University of Illinois at Chicago, is 1-1 with a 0.55 ERA. He has allowed just 15 hits.

Luis Ramirez is 2-3 with a 3.18 ERA in a little more than 70 innings for the Shorebirds, while Kevin Hart, who gave up six earned runs in his last outing, has fallen to 3-5 and had his ERA shoot up to 5.70.

Orioles farm report

Three up

Back-to-back homers by Ramon Nivar and Midre Cummings made a fan, John Watt, a $5,000 winner Thursday in the Gatorade Back-to-Back Jacks Contest in Ottawa.

After batting just .205 with only one homer in May, Ottawa's Walter Young hit .347 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his first 11 games in June.

The Baysox, who have sent two pitchers to the major leagues this season in Hayden Penn and Chris Ray, have a 3.49 team ERA, second only to the 3.48 of the Eastern League's first-place Akron Aeros.

Three down

Baysox shortstop Brandon Fahey had committed six errors in 10 games before taking last Thursday off.

The Shorebirds (30-39) are 13th in batting (.249) and 14th in ERA (4.56) in the 16-team South Atlantic League.

Keys left-hander Adam Loewen, a first-round pick in 2002 and the highest-ever drafted Canadian, fell to 2-4, giving up 10 runs, nine earned, in 2 2/3 innings of a 15-4 loss to Winston-Salem.

On deck

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats with Severna Park's Josh Banks, a right-handed pitcher, will visit Bowie for a three-game Eastern League series Friday through Sunday.

Maryland spotlight

Justin Singleton

Position: Outfielder

Size: 6 feet 1, 190 pounds

Age: 26

Hometown: Baltimore

High school: St. Paul's

College: Clemson

Pro team: Triple-A Syracuse of the International League, Toronto Blue Jays. Signed as undrafted free agent in 2000.

Statistics: .220 average (20-for-91), eight runs, nine RBIs, four doubles, one triple, one homer, two stolen bases.

Skinny: He's the son of former Orioles star Ken Singleton.

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