NEW YORK -- Arthur Rhodes gets his last chance to make an early impression for next year when he faces the New York Yankees here tonight (7:35, HTS).
Regardless of the outcome, tonight's game will not determine Rhodes' fate for next year. But if the rookie lefthander can finish 1991 on a positive note it would be a step in the right direction.
When the Orioles recalled Rhodes in August, the game plan was to get an early line on his potential for next season. In seven starts, Rhodes (0-3, 9.00) obviously has not staked a claim on a starting job in 1992. But he will get another opportunity in spring training.
Oates would like to see Rhodes go out on a winning note, as Jose Mesa did three days ago in Detroit, but that won't be the most important part of his evening. "I'd just like to see him show some consistency," Oates said of Rhodes, who is three weeks shy of his 22nd birthday.
"I'd like to see him string a few innings together like he did against Cleveland [last month] -- not have two or three baserunners every inning. One game isn't going to prove anything, he'll have more chances in spring training, but it would be good for Arthur to finish on a positive note, just like Jose did," said Oates.
In the second game of the series tonight, the Yankees will pitch veteran righthander Pascual Perez (2-4, 3.15), who has spent most of the last two years on the disabled list, but has been effective when healthy.
With a 6-5 lead, the Yankees have two chances left to clinch the season series with the Orioles. Tomorrow will be the Orioles' final road game of the year and then they wrap up the season -- and their stay at Memorial Stadium -- with three games against the Tigers at home this weekend.