Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina was expected to rejoin the team here tonight after an MRI exam on his right shoulder showed no significant damage. However, because of soreness and swelling it is doubtful Mussina will make his scheduled start on Friday.

"Either he'll miss a start, or we'll back him up one day," Manager Ray Miller said. "We'll have to wait and see."

"It's just a matter of when the swelling goes down, so he can begin throwing again," General Manager Frank Wren said.

Mussina was struck on his right shoulder by a line drive in the third inning of Sunday's 9-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox, suffering a contusion of his deltoid muscle.

If Mussina misses Friday's start, the most obvious solution would be to pitch Scott Erickson on three days' rest.

Left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes, who also had to leave Sunday's game after being struck by a batted ball, saw a hand specialist in Baltimore today. Wren called Rhodes's injury a "sprain" of the last knuckle of his left index finger. Rhodes also was expected to rejoin the team tonight. If Rhodes is able to pitch again within the next several days, he will not need to go on the disabled list.

First-Round Pick Signs

The Orioles went down to the deadline to sign left-handed pitcher Richard Stahl today, the last of the team's four first-round draft picks to sign. Stahl, 18, chose the Orioles over a scholarship to Georgia Tech, where today was the first day of classes. Stahl, a 6-foot-7 left-hander from Covington, Ga., was the 18th overall pick. The Orioles signed their first 13 picks, including four first-rounders. . . . Third baseman Cal Ripken, who remains on the disabled list with an injured back, told Miller he hopes to begin physical activity in the next few days. Once he does, it likely would take another five or six days before he could return to the lineup. Ripken will turn 39 on Tuesday.