Four days after becoming the odd man out on the Orioles pitching staff, Jose Mesa was proclaiming his erratic career revived yesterday.
That breath of fresh air for Mesa came after the right-hander was traded to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Kyle Washington, a member of the Double-A Canton-Akron Indians who has been assigned to the Orioles' Double-A Hagerstown Suns. Washington, 22, was batting .294 with two home runs and 25 RBI in 67 games.
Washington, who won the South Atlantic League batting title last year with a .343 average for Single-A Columbus (Ga.), is 6 feet 2, 190 pounds. He throws and bats right-handed.
Mesa was 3-8 with a 5.19 ERA in 13 games this season, 12 as a starter. Mesa, 26, was designated for assignment Friday to make room for left-hander Pat Clements, who was acquired on waivers Thursday. Mesa will fly to Kansas City, Mo., today to join the last-place Indians.
"I feel good, and I'm really excited to go to Cleveland," Mesa said. "I'm really excited to have the chance to pitch every four days over there."
Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays with Oswald Peraza in a trade for Mike Flanagan in 1987, Mesa had a 13-24 record for the Orioles. A hard thrower, Mesa came out of spring training as the Orioles' fifth starter but never found a groove with the irregular starts.
"When you pitch every 10 days, it's tough," said Mesa, who won five times in his last 28 starts with the Orioles. "They kept me pitching every 10 days, and they wouldn't let me pitch out of the bullpen, either, so it was hard.
"When we started the season, it wasn't too hard," he added. "But pitching every 11 days, it was getting hard in my head."
A 9-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on June 28 cost Mesa a spot in the starting rotation. In that -- his last appearance as a starter -- Mesa gave up nine hits and five earned runs and left to a chorus of boos in the fifth inning. His last appearance for the Orioles came July 7, when he threw 46 pitches in his first relief appearance in the major leagues in 4 1/2 years.
Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina, in San Diego for last night's All-Star Game, wished Mesa luck.
"I hope it's good for him, and I really hope he makes it," Mussina said. "I hope he doesn't deal too much again with us, and I hope he's successful."