BALTIMORE, JUNE 2 -- As expected, the Baltimore Orioles moved to fill their most urgent need today by selecting two pitchers in the first round of baseball's draft of amateur players.
The Orioles used the seventh choice to select left-handed pitcher Chris Myers of Plant High School in Tampa, Fla., the school that graduated Wade Boggs. With the 15th selection in the first round, Baltimore took Silver Spring native Brad DuVall, a right-handed pitcher from Virginia Tech.
DuVall, 21, is a graduate of Springbrook High School, for which he was 6-0 his senior year. He just finished a 9-2 junior season at Virginia Tech.
The Orioles began the process of trying to sign both players today and hope to have them in a week-long Florida minicamp next week. After that, they'll be assigned to one of two minor league teams, in Bluefield, W.Va., or Newark.
Club officials were cautiously optimistic about their choices, the first time they've ever had two first-round picks.
If anything, they reflect the Orioles' desire to get back to power-type pitchers. After they traded Storm Davis to the San Diego Padres last winter, they were left without a hard thrower in the starting rotation.
"You could classify both these guys as power pitchers," Orioles General Manager Hank Peters said. "You just never know how long it'll take them to come, but the average is about four years. Now, the thing you ask youselves is, 'Are these guys exceptions to the rule?' We won't know that until we see them."
As usual, only the first-round picks were announced, and the draft went as expected. The first two choices were outfielders, the next eight pitchers. The first selection, made by the Seattle Mariners, was outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., son of the Atlanta Braves outfielder. The second was outfielder Mark Merchant of Chulota, Fla., taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In naming DuVall, the Orioles got a pitcher whose fastball has been clocked at 93 mph and who has an excellent slider and change-up. He starred in football, baseball and wrestling at Springbrook, and said, "I had a real outstanding senior season in baseball and saw I might have a future in that. Until then, I'd really been thinking about a wrestling scholarship."
The Orioles were picking seventh because they finished with the seventh-worst record last season. They acquired the 15th selection as compensation for Cleveland's signing of free-agent catcher Rick Dempsey.
Previously, their highest choice was 10th in the 1968 draft, when they took shortstop Junior Kennedy. Because they've been so active in the free-agent market, the Orioles have had only four first-round picks in the last eight drafts.
Of Myers, 18, Orioles farm director Tom Giordano said, "He reminds me of Mike Flanagan when he was a kid. He has average major league velocity right now, but when the ball comes to the plate it explodes. He's got a real live arm, and we think he's going to pick up some additional velocity."
Although it was not announced, the Orioles used their third-round choice to take another pitcher, right-hander Anthony Telford (10-7, 2.57 earned run average) of San Jose State.