BALTIMORE, AUG. 25 -- The Orioles announced during tonight's game with Cleveland the recall of right-hander Jose Mesa, 24, from AAA Rochester and said he will start Tuesday night's game here against the New York Yankees.

He had been scheduled to start Sunday for the Red Wings, but will join the Orioles immediately. He will not be activated until Tuesday, giving the Orioles two days to decide whom they will drop. Moreover, they hope Bob Milacki will come off the disabled list soon.

Mesa, who is 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds, had shoulder surgery in 1988 and 1989. He was not ready to pitch until recently, but in four games with Rochester -- all starts -- he was 1-2 with a 2.42 ERA. In 26 innings, he yielded 21 hits, walked 12 and struck out 23.

He was acquired in August of 1987 from the Blue Jays in the trade that sent pitcher Mike Flanagan to Toronto.

Johnson Will Try

Pitcher Dave Johnson, eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday, will try to throw lightly on Monday and see if the four pain-killing shots he got Friday will be a long-term solution to the pain in his lower back.

The Orioles' top winner with an 11-8 record, he said his injury is becoming increasingly frustrating because it bothers him only when he tries to pitch.

"People ask me how I feel and all I can say is 'fine,' " Johnson said. "I can get out of bed and do jumping jacks . . . "

He said X-rays have proved inconclusive, but he thinks an exam Friday may have given a more specific answer, pointing to an inflammation. He hopes the treatment alleviates the problem.

Walking Home

With 11 walks in Friday's 5-4, 11-inning victory over the Indians, and eight more tonight, the Orioles lead the American League with 552 bases on balls. Mickey Tettleton leads the majors with 92, followed by teammate Randy Milligan with 88.

Manager Frank Robinson said he never remembers criticizing a player for taking a walk, but he did say before tonight's game that he would like to see some of his team's key hitters become more aggressive when they come up with an opportunity to drive in runs.

"When you can do that, a walk is not as good as a hit," he said. "I would like to see a {Steve} Finley or {Brady} Anderson battle a little more for a walk because, if they can get on, it is more a part of their game. But when a guy like Cal {Ripken} or Milligan is in that situation {with runners in scoring position}, he has to try and expand the strike zone."

Doing Their Share

The Ripkens have been doing their part lately. Before tonight's game, Cal and Bill had hit .357 (51 for 143) since July 23.