Orioles complete roster, sending Milacki to Suns McDonald placed on disabled list

April 08, 1991|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Baltimore Orioles reached the 25-player limit with a series of moves yesterday, the most striking an option of pitcher Bob Milacki to the Class AA Hagerstown Suns.

Milacki, last year's Opening Day starter, is scheduled to pitch the Suns' second game at home against Williamsport on Thursday.

"I'm surprised in a way," he said. "I wasn't expecting it. I wish I had known it earlier. I've been working on a lot of things in spring training and a lot of things are beginning to work for me."

In other developments, pitcher Ben McDonald was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29, first baseman-outfielder David Segui was optioned to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, pitcher Roy Smith returned to Rochester and both third basemen, Craig Worthington and Leo Gomez, made the club.

Also retained were left-handed reliever Paul Kilgus, whose contract was purchased from Rochester, and non-roster catcher Ernie Whitt, who signed a one-year deal for $300,000 (plus incentives) yesterday.

Milacki pitched five solid innings in the final exhibition, a 6-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox at RFK Stadium, giving up one run on a first-inning home run by Mike Greenwell.

It was his best outing of the spring since the first one, three scoreless innings against the Texas Rangers on March 8.

But the Orioles want him to get regular work and gave him a choice of Rochester or Hagerstown.

"I picked Hagerstown so I don't have to rent two places," Milacki said. "They want me to get my velocity back like it was in 1989. When they go to the five-man [rotation], I'll be called up if I pitch well."

Milacki's recovery from shoulder trouble has been one of the big questions of the Orioles' spring. He finished the exhibition season with a 6.48 ERA in six appearances, five of them starts.

"We want him to pitch in a rotation, stay sharp and get innings," said manager Frank Robinson. "There is no substitute for throwing against hitters, and he needs that. He had a positive outing today. That's something he could build on."

"With the off days we have, we didn't think he'd get regular work," said general manager Roland Hemond. "He wasn't going to throw that much, and we want him starting."

McDonald reported his sore elbow "felt pretty good" while he threw in the bullpen yesterday, "but there was a little stiffness about every third pitch. It was the first time I had any velocity at all since I hurt it."

He agreed that it is better to start the season on the disabled list for the second straight year rather than to "try to come back too fast. If you're not ready, you take a chance of doing more damage."

McDonald will throw on the side every other day and will be eligible to be activated Sunday at Texas.

Segui batted .254 with nine RBI during the exhibition season and said: "I did my job. I'm disappointed, of course, but I'll go down there and do what I can do."

He spent 33 innings in the outfield this spring as the club experimented and is going to the Red Wings with instructions to play three times a week in the outfield.

"But if I had spent the whole spring at first base, I'd have been sent down a long time ago," Segui said. "This gives them a different option."

Gomez, who batted .333 with three homers and nine RBI, said he was "happy to make the club. This is what I worked all my life for. We [Worthington and he] both had a good spring training. I'm just going to keep working."

Robinson said a spot opened for Kilgus, who signed for $160,000, because of the moves involving Milacki and McDonald.

"It gives us that extra left-hander in the bullpen," said the manager. "It's good to have him out there."

Kilgus, 1-1 with a 2.31 ERA in eight spring appearances, supplants Kevin Hickey as the situational left-hander.

Orioles moves

* Optioned RHP Bob Milacki to Class AA Hagerstown Suns.

* Option 1B David Segui to Rochester.

* Assigned RHP Roy Smith to Class AAA Rochester Red Wings.

* Placed RHP Ben McDonald on 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 29.

* Purchased contract of LHP Paul Kilgus from Rochester and signed him to a one-year contract worth $160,000 plus incentives.

* Signed C Ernie Whitt to a one-year contract worth $300,000 plus incentives.

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