The Alexandria Dukes paid the price that makes minor league operation so maddening when infielder Victor Rodriguez not only established himself as their best player, a .300 hitter, but won a quick promotion to Class AA last weekend. The parent Orioles moved Rodriguez up to Charlotte, whereby hangs another tale:

Scott Christopher of Falls Church, the former Maryland captain who had a couple of fine years with the Orioles' Class A Miami team (stole 41 bases in 42 tries in 1978, hit in top-10 style), started this spring on the charlotte roster but since has left the Baltimore system. Things never went just right once the Birds decided to make a switch hitter of Christopher, a natural right-handed batter. But, despite the handi-cap of a right hand exceptionally small as the result of a childhood accident, he was versatile.

Christopher just missed a Silver Glove, the Sporting News' minor league counter-part of the majors' Gold Glove for fielding excellence, as he registered a .995 percentage last year -- one error in 104 outfield starts.

Now the O's have sent the inactive Christopher a memento of the 1978 Florida State championship he mightily helped Miami achieve -- but not the release he needs to try to hook on with another organization. . . .

Keeping the watch at major league strike deadline the other night, we caught a couple of familiar names in the news wire's Eastern League (AA) roundup: 1979 Alexandria Mariners become Lynn (Mass.) Sailors evidently doing okay -- Gary Pellant a two-run homer and Rob Simond a three-hitter in a sweep of bristol, Conn. . . . Bob Rock from Mount Vernon, toiling for Buffalo (a Pirate affiliate), becoming the first pitcher this year to beat Glens Falls, N.Y., on a complete game. . . . And we understand hurler Steve Farr, ex-De Matha, Au and Charles County C.C., is on the verge of moving up from Buffalo to Triple-A Portland, Ore., in the Pittsburgh chain. . . .

A little counterbalance there, anyway, for local hopefuls Marks Harris, Paul Rudiman and now Chris Hudson being cut by the Dukes along their rocky 1980 Carolina League road.