Jeffrey Hammonds, the Orioles' No. 1 draft choice, signed a minor-league contract Saturday night, but he will not play in the system until next year.
"We don't think it would be productive for him to play with us
dur- Orioles notebook
ing this minor-league season," said scouting director Gary Nickels.
"He's been playing since Jan. 27. Right after the Olympics, he's going to go home and maybe take another quarter at Stanford."
There is a possibility Hammonds will go to the Florida Instructional League in the fall, and he will be in the organization's major-league camp next spring.
But he will not begin his pro career with the Orioles. The likelihood is that Hammonds will be assigned to the Single-A Frederick Keys or the Double-A team, wherever it is located.
"Obviously, it is in our interest and his to start him at a level where he will be competitive," Nickels said.
The Orioles signed Hammonds to a minor-league contract so he can be shielded from the majors' expansion draft. Nickels said his "signing bonus was not in seven figures" but was close.
He signed for $975,000.
Hammonds agreed to terms during Saturday night's game after daylong negotiating between his brother Reggie, his adviser, Jeff Moorad, and the Orioles.
The contract to Hammonds, fourth overall in the draft, is the highest ever given a college player. "He was fourth, but many felt he was the best player this year," said Nickels.
"I'm homesick," Hammonds said during the signing announcement. "I'm going to Barcelona for a while, then I'm going to do everything I can to get back here. I loved it. It's every
thing it's cracked up to be."
Chris Hoiles is making steady progress in his recuperation from a broken right wrist, but won't begin doing any serious work for another two weeks.
"They [doctors] want to play it safe, and they haven't said anything yet about when I can play again," said Hoiles.
"But I've been working out and lifting using that hand. There are a lot of exercises you can do without the cast. There was a major improvement in just 2 1/2 weeks."
Hoiles was hit on the wrist by a pitch from the New York Yankees' Tim Leary on June 21 during the alleged ball-doctoring incident that the Orioles protested.
He said his inactivity "is past the itchy stage and bordering on the panicking stage. It's hard to sit and watch knowing you can't do anything about the outcome."
Frohwirth off his game
Todd Frohwirth had not allowed a run all month, but he was nicked for three (two earned) by the Twins yesterday.
He was pitching in a day game after working two innings Saturday
night and in humid weather.
"It's time for a break," said Frohwirth. "With the heat, I wasn't 100 percent [in his third inning], but I was strong enough to make a better pitch than I did to [Brian] Harper. It was terrible."
Harper doubled to start a two-run rally capped by Mark McLemore's throwing error in the sixth.
Frohwirth had worked 22 1/3 straight scoreless innings before Harper scored on Randy Bush's single.
"The work doesn't bother me," he said. "I like that. It got me back on track."
Another 2 million
With their 25th straight sellout and 33rd of the season, the Orioles climbed above 2 million in home attendance (2,035,897) yesterday for the fourth consecutive year.
It is the seventh time they have done it in the past 10 years. They became the sixth-quickest franchise to reach 2 million.
Only the Toronto Blue Jays (1990 through 1992) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1982 and 1983) have made 2 million on earlier home dates.
Alan Mills, also highly successful of late, also allowed a run on an eighth-inning single by Kirby Puckett. It was Mills' first after 11 1/3 scoreless innings. "This was the first time we've seen him have a control problem," manager Johnny Oates said of Mills, who walked four in 1 1/3 innings. . . . The Orioles will hold a Wednesday workout beginning at 4 p.m., then will leave for Texas and their next series. . . . Rick Sutcliffe, Mike Mussina and Ben McDonald will start the first three games against the Rangers. Sunday's starter has not been announced. Storm Davis will go a week from today in Chicago. . . . Brady Anderson's third-inning single gave him a career-high nine-game hitting streak. Mike Devereaux's nine-game streak was halted. . . . Minnesota has a 22-6 record in day games and has outscored the opposition, 69-42, in the first inning. . . . The Twins' Tom Edens has not permitted an earned run in his past 17 games. He has pitched 29 1/3 innings in that span. . . . Joe Orsulak goes into the break with the Orioles' highest batting average (.290) after hitting .220 in April and .213 in May.
Voting by major-league managers for an all-star team, according to a survey conducted by The Associated Press. Nine 14 American League managers and eight of 12 National League managers responded. Managers were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams: