The Baltimore Orioles obviously have found a lot to like about left-hander Mike Linskey, whose rapid rise through the club's minor-league system culminated yesterday with his addition to the 40-man major-league roster.
Linskey, who was the Orioles' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 1989, split time between the Class AA Hagerstown Suns (7-1, 1.47 ERA) and the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings (7-9, 3.58) last year. If the former Loyola High School athlete had not been added to the major-league roster, he would have been eligible for the Rule V draft in December.
"There's no question that we would not have wanted him to be available for someone to draft," said general manager Roland Hemond. "He's definitely a major-league prospect."
So Hemond called Linskey yesterday and informed him that he would be one of the 40 players protected against a Rule V claim. Hemond also told him that he would go to spring training with a chance to make the major-league club next year.
"I'm very excited about this," Linskey said. "It's one of the goals I set for myself this off-season. It's really exciting because I'll actually be working with the big-league team."
If he hadn't been protected, he could have been taken in the draft by another club for $50,000. His chances of making the majors in 1991 might have improved, but he wouldn't have fulfilled his dream of pitching in his hometown.
Players taken in the Rule V draft must spend the next season at the major-league level or be offered back to their original club for half the $50,000 draft price.
"With the success that I've had, I think if I had not been protected, there was a good chance that another team would have picked me up," Linskey said. "I don't want to seemed biased toward other teams, but this is the team I want to play for."
The addition of Linskey left the Orioles with 38 places filled on the 40-man roster. The club has until midnight to finalize the roster, and Hemond said there could be a few more additions today.