BALTIMORE, JUNE 22 -- The Baltimore Orioles today optioned pitcher Ken Dixon to their Class AAA Rochester affiliate. They did not announce his replacement, but free agent Doug Corbett worked out with them before tonight's game at Memorial Stadium against the Yankees.

Dixon is 3-7 with a 7.03 earned run average and five saves. He started against the Tigers Sunday and gave up five runs on seven hits. Three of the hits were home runs, two of them on two-strike pitches.

Dixon, who began the season as a starter, went to the bullpen after his fourth game, April 25 against the Milwaukee Brewers when he gave up six hits and seven runs in just over one inning. At that point, his ERA was 8.53.

He improved in his next 19 appearances, all in relief. He returned to the starting rotation last Tuesday against the Yankees in New York, giving up four runs on seven hits -- three of them homers -- in 5 1/3 innings.

And then, there was Sunday's game, which brought his record in six starts to 1-3 with an ERA of 8.68. In 28 innings as a starter, he gave up 29 runs on 40 hits that included 13 home runs. Only two AL pitchers have given up more homers than his 20.

Tonight, before the move was announced, Doug Melvin of the Orioles staff questioned the value of sending Dixon to Rochester.

"I just got back from four days with Rochester," Melvin said, "and I think he would be getting guys out down there." Melvin said the only Rochester pitcher who impressed him was Mike Griffin, 30, who is 5-1 with a 3.28 ERA. Jeff Ballard has started twice for the Red Wings since being demoted earlier this month, giving up 23 hits, 11 runs and six walks in 14 innings.

That could leave the way open for Corbett, 34, recently released by the California Angels' Class AAA Edmonton team.

Last year, he was 4-2 with 10 saves and a 3.66 ERA in 46 games with the Angels. He signed the AAA contract with the understanding that, if he was not promoted by June 15, he would released if he wished.