MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The Orioles selected 24-year-old outfielder Darrell Sherman in today's Rule V draft and added him to a short list of candidates for the club's full-time leadoff role.
Sherman was drafted off the San Diego Padres' Class AAA roster for $50,000. He must spend the entire 1992 season on the Orioles' 25-man regular season roster or be offered back to the Padres for half the draft price.
He batted .295 with 43 stolen bases last year for the Class AA Wichita Aeros, while having the lowest strikeout ratio (1 per 21.1 at-bats) of any Class AA or AAA player.
"He's a speedster," general manager Roland Hemond said. "We wanted to add some speed. This will give us some depth and competition in the outfield."
It gives the Orioles two young leadoff candidates. Luis Mercedes is expected to get a long look this spring, but he still has to be considered a longshot to make the Opening Day starting lineup.
The Rule V draft also cost the Orioles a promising young player. Catcher Todd Pratt, who recently was signed as a minor league free agent off the Boston roster, was drafted off the Rochester Red Wings' roster by Philadelphia.
The move surprised the Orioles, since the Phillies could have outbid them for Pratt a few weeks ago and still spent less to get him.