BALTIMORE, JULY 6 -- Scott McGregor, saying he still wants to pitch and will do whatever he can to help, accepted a demotion from the Baltimore Orioles to their Rochester farm team tonight.

McGregor (2-7, 6.69 earned run average) will join the Class AAA Red Wings this week and will make his first start Thursday.

"He needs to pitch innings, and we just can't afford to give them to him here because of the way he's been going," General Manager Hank Peters said.

McGregor is going by choice. Because he has 10 years' major league service, he could have refused the demotion. Had he done so, the Orioles apparently were ready to release him even if it meant paying off the remaining $2.5 million on his contract. He did, however, request the team return him to the majors within 20 days.

He has pitched continuously in the majors since 1976. "I hope it will take only two or three starts to get him straightened out," said Manager Cal Ripken Sr.

McGregor will be replaced on the roster by left-hander Mike Kinnunen, who was called up from Rochester tonight.

In accepting the move, McGregor, 33, made it clear he didn't intend to give up.

"I want to pitch," he said. "It's that simple. I don't want to sit in the bullpen and not be used. I can be a coach later in my life. I need to go out and throw innings. I started off throwing pretty well, but I had some bad luck and that got me to thinking too much or something. Now, I'm completely out of whack. I need to get back to throwing strikes and being aggressive."

Eight weeks ago, McGregor had a 1-4 record and 3.92 ERA. He said his record, not the ERA, convinced him he needed to make adjustments "I probably shouldn't have made."

As a result, McGregor, a control, finesse pitcher, had difficulty throwing strikes. He has been dropped in and out of the rotation since and has pitched longer than four innings only twice. In his last five appearances, he has allowed 13 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings.