After waiting more than four years for him to mature, the Baltimore Orioles traded former No. 1 draft pick Chris Myers to the Montreal Expos organization yesterday.
The Orioles received right-handed pitcher Richie Lewis, whose contract was assigned to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings.
"We think the change will do Chris good," said assistant general manager Doug Melvin. "The organization is always trying to get someone with more power. We just felt we were getting a better arm."
Myers, 22, was the seventh overall pick in the June 1987 draft. He attended the same school (Plant High in Tampa, Fla.) as Wade Boggs.
The left-hander is a control-type pitcher in the mold of Jeff Ballard. Lewis has a reputation for strikeouts. He led the nation with 196 strikeouts at Florida State in 1987 and was drafted in the second round by the Expos.
For the Class AA Harrisburg Senators, Lewis was 6-5 with a 3.74 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings. In 27 innings for the Class AAA Indianapolis Indians, he struck out 22 in 27 2/3 innings and was 1-0.
Myers will go to Indianapolis after posting an 8-7 record and 4.49 ERA for the Red Wings.
"Lewis will start Monday for Rochester, but we'll determine his role as we go on," said Melvin. "Right now, people feel he is a middle man in the big leagues. We feel he could come on quickly."
Myers was on the Orioles' 40-man roster last spring and twice went to spring training with them.
"Well, that shoots my five M's for the starting rotation," said manager John Oates, when informed of the trade.
Rookie award candidates
Minnesota second baseman Chuck Knoblauch is the front-runner for the American League Rookie of the Year award, but two Orioles are dark-horse candidates.
"Chito [Martinez] has come in and played very well," said Oates. "He's had a lot of big hits and been consistent.
"And Leo [Gomez] has produced numbers and done a fine job at third base. They've been as good as any rookies we've got."
Entering last night, Martinez was batting .323 with nine home runs in 130 at-bats, resembling what Kevin Maas did for the New York Yankees last year.
6* Gomez leads AL rookies with 11 homers.
Jeff Ballard is 2-2 with a 4.75 ERA at Rochester after losing a 3-2 decision to Syracuse on Friday night. Oates will not discuss whether he or anyone else will be brought up when the roster can expand at the end of the month. . . . The Orioles could reach 2 million in attendance tomorrow night when the Toronto series begins. That would tie 1989 for the earliest date. . . . David Segui's game-winning RBI Friday night was only his second in 22 games. . . . Kent Hrbek celebrated his 10th anniversary as a Twin yesterday. He is in the top 5 in virtually all the team's career offensive categories, including hits, batting average, doubles, RBI, runs and home runs.