The Orioles announced yesterday that IFs Jose Leon and Luis Lopez and C Robert Machado have refused outright assignment and elected to pursue free agency.

Leon, who split the season between the Orioles and Class AAA Ottawa, hit .182 with Baltimore in 31 games. He had two homers and eight RBI.

Lopez spent the entire season in Baltimore as a utility infielder. He batted .182 with one homer and eight RBI in 56 games.

Machado hit .151 with one homer and three RBI in 37 games after being called up from Ottawa in May.

The moves leave the Orioles with 37 players on the 40-man roster.

* LET'S TALK: Former Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca interviewed with the Mets, the first candidate brought in to discuss their managerial opening following the firing of Art Howe.

Tosca met with new Mets GM Omar Minaya and his top assistants, Jim Duquette, Gary LaRoque and John Ricco. The interview had been scheduled by Duquette when he was general manager and before Minaya was brought in Sept. 30 to take over.

"Omar and I have a history together," Tosca said. "I've known him since 1985. It wasn't a curveball at all."

-- From News Services