The St. Louis Cardinals optioned outfielder Brian Jordan, a graduate of Milford Mill, to the Triple-A Louisville Redbirds yesterday.
In 19 spring games, Jordan hit .292 with one home run, seven RBI and three steals.
Cardinals manager Joe Torre told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times: "I told him I feel he's very close. But coming over here with us and sitting on the bench wouldn't do him any good. He understood that. He thinks he's a big-league player, and I can't necessarily disagree with him. I know he is eventually."
Jordan, a starting safety with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL, is regarded as the fourth-best prospect in the Cardinals system by Baseball America.
* METS: Preliminary DNA tests match Dwight Gooden's blood sample with a semen stain on the dress a Manhattan woman says she was wearing the night Gooden and two of his teammates allegedly raped her, a source close to the investigation in Port St. Lucie, Fla., said.
The source confirmed the forensic match, but said it would have "nothing to do with proving force in the case."
Police Lt. Scott Bartal would neither confirm nor deny the tests conducted by a local crime lab, but said "only a few people" were aware of the results.
Meanwhile, the players union has filed a grievance against the club involving the salary arbitration case of Kevin Elster, claiming that evidence presented in the arbitration hearing was inappropriately obtained, that it shouldn't have been admitted and that the Elias Sports Bureau shouldn't represent clubs in arbitration.
According to Gene Orza, associate counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, the grievance seeks to have Elster's case heard again and either to have Elias permanently removed from the arbitration process or removed as the official statistician for baseball.
The Mets prevailed in the Elster case, heard Feb. 11 and decided the next day. Elster was awarded a 1992 salary of $760,000 by first-year arbitrator Robert Cereo, rather than the $1.35 million he sought.
The Mets' case was presented by Elias' Steve Hirdt, who also presented the club's cases against David Cone and Jeff Innis. The club prevailed in the Innis case and lost to Cone.
* BRAVES: Atlanta trimmed its roster to 26 by sending pitcher Pete Smith and catcher-infielder Francisco Cabrera to Triple-A Richmond.
Smith, a four-year veteran, had a 3.94 ERA this spring in 16 innings. He was 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA for the Braves last season.
He said general manager John Schuerholz tried to trade him to another club, but that discussions with California, Cleveland and San Diego fell through.
Without Smith, the Braves will start the season with 11 pitchers, including right-hander Ben Rivera, a rookie who pitched at Double-A Greenville last season. Rivera, 23, was out of options and could not be returned to the minors without going through waivers.
The Braves must cut one player to get down to the 25-player limit by Tuesday's regular-season opener at Houston.
Manager Bobby Cox said that player would be shortstop Vinny (( Castilla, who will be kept until infielders Jeff Blauser and Mark Lemke are recovered fully from slight injuries.