BALTIMORE, JUNE 26 -- The Baltimore Orioles have asked No. 1 draft pick Mike Mussina for a meeting this week and are hopeful he could be on the mound for one of their farm teams next week.
Negotiations were late in starting because Mussina recently finished classes at Stanford and because of the death of the father of Orioles scouting director John Barr.
No matter how tough these talks are, they should be a breeze compared to last summer's often bitter 10-week faceoff with Ben McDonald. In fact, a general outline of Mussina's contract probably was established recently when the Texas Rangers gave a $220,000 deal to their No. 1 draft pick, Creighton left-hander Dan Smith. Smith was the 16th overall selection, four picks higher than Mussina.
Arizona pitcher Lance Dickson, taken by the Chicago Cubs with the 23rd pick, got $180,000. The most lucrative package given a draft choice this year was $440,000 to high school shortstop Chipper Jones, whom the Atlanta Braves made the first selection. McDonald got about $1 million last year.
"I'm kind of surprised it has taken this long to get going, but I realize there has been circumstances on both sides," said Mike Mussina Sr., the pitcher's father. "Mike wants to sign. . . . I don't know how easy or how hard it'll be, but he wants to sign."
The Orioles have signed 25 of their 44 choices.Blistering Pace
Speaking of McDonald, he was roughed up and developed another blister during Monday's start against Omaha. The Rochester Red Wings lost, 5-3, and McDonald allowed five runs, five hits and five walks in seven innings. Paul Zuvella homered off him, but it was a bases-loaded double by Bobby Meacham that defeated him.
The up side is that McDonald threw a season-high 117 pitches, 13 more than in his previous start.