CHICAGO — Sunday starter Mussina glad for 4 AAA months
CHICAGO -- Rookie right-hander Mike Mussina is expected to join the Baltimore Orioles today at Comiskey Park, where he will make his first major-league start Sunday. But if his arrival seemed long in coming, he didn't let on.
"Any time is a good time to come up," Mussina said. "I had no planned time or set goal when I wanted to get here. I'd been throwing well, and I was fortunate enough that they are going to give me a chance."
Mussina, the Orioles' first-round draft choice last June, was 10-4 for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings this year. Perhaps it would have profited the club to take the advice of those who wanted him to start the season in the big-league rotation, but neither the Orioles nor Mussina are looking back with regret.
"I've only been out of college for 14 months," he said. "I can't say that I should have been here. The 19 starts and the 120 innings I got at Triple-A, there's no way that can hurt me."
Manager John Oates doesn't, either, though he seemed very impressed with the way that Mussina handled himself in spring training.
"I thought he was very mature," Oates said. "When Cal [Ripken] Jr., hit his fourth pitch for a two-run home run in the intrasquad game, it didn't seem to bother him. But pitching at the collegiate level and pitching at the major-league level, that's two different brands of baseball."
Mussina was hindered by a pulled muscle in his right shoulder early in the season and didn't pitch his first nine-inning complete game until Monday night.
The next day, he was called up, though the circumstances of his promotion made it bittersweet. His was called up the day that his friend Jeff Ballard was sent back to Rochester.
"I've thought about that a lot," Mussina said. "We worked out for six weeks in California prior to spring training. We're pretty good friends. He's having a tough year, and I feel bad that I'm involved in taking his job, but there's nothing I can do about that."
There were reports out of Philadelphia on Wednesday night that the Phillies had traded left-handed starter Bruce Ruffin to the Orioles for rookie infielder Juan Bell, but the midnight trading deadline passed without incident.
The trade, never was completed, but assistant general manager Frank Robinson was in Philadelphia on Wednesday and told reporters the Orioles had pursued Ruffin.
Final weekend ticket sale
Tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. today at all Orioles ticket outlets for the final series at Memorial Stadium. Fans can purchase four tickets to each game of the final weekend series against the Detroit Tigers. About 15,000 tickets are available for the Friday and Saturday games. Only about 7,000 remain for the Sunday game.
Kilgus accepts assignment
Reliever Paul Kilgus cleared waivers yesterday and was optioned to Rochester. He will join the team today in Toledo, Ohio. Kilgus was designated for assignment and waived by the Orioles on Tuesday, but was not claimed by any other club.
McKnight on 60-day DL
Utility man Jeff McKnight, who recently underwent shoulder surgery, was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list yesterday.