WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Center fielder Mike Devereaux refuses to let up. He came to spring training to prove he can be a dependable leadoff man and he's done nothing to hurt his case.
Devereaux reached base four times in five trips to the plate yesterday, as the Baltimore Orioles scored a 10-5 Grapefruit League victory over the Atlanta Braves at West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium.
The numbers tell the whole story. Devereaux has a .393 batting average and a .466 on-base percentage in preseason competition.
"I just feel very confident now," Devereaux said. "I'm not going to say I'm satisfied, but I'm working hard every day and I'm trying to get better and better."
Trying and succeeding, apparently. Devereaux has been one of the most consistent hitters on the club this spring, thanks to the new approach he has taken at the plate.
"The thing I'm doing differently is I'm seeing the ball all the way so I can lay off the bad pitches and use the whole field, which I haven't done.
* Catcher Bob Melvin hit a three-run home run in the Orioles five-run seventh inning. He continues to be one of the hottest hitters in camp, and raised his average to .364 with a 2-for-4 performance yesterday.
Randy Milligan also homered yesterday to take over the club lead in that department with four.
* General manager Roland Hemond said that the Orioles made every effort to trade Dan Boone to another organization before handing him his unconditional release.
"He thanked us for giving him a chance to pitch again," Hemond said. "He did make it to the major leagues last year. That's something."
Boone, 37, apparently will try to find a Class AAA job with another organization, but he may have reached the end of the line.
* Right-hander Ben McDonald said yesterday that the soreness in his elbow is subsiding, thanks to treatment from the training staff and anti-inflammatory medication. McDonald will begin playing long toss today as he enters the second stage of a 12-day rehabilitation program.
* Manager Frank Robinson said that right-hander John Mitchell was released because he could not acclimate himself to the bullpen.
"It was just a case where he was not suited to the role we needed him to fill in the bullpen," Robinson said.