Towers Rising as Knight Falls

Until recently, Josh Towers and Brandon Knight had parallel careers.

Both starred at Ventura County high schools and junior colleges before establishing themselves with American League East affiliates in the triple-A International League.

And both made their major league debuts within about a month of each other.

The similarities end there.

Towers, who attended Hueneme High and Oxnard College, hasn't missed a beat since his May 1 promotion from Rochester, the Baltimore Orioles' top affiliate.

Towers (3-1) pitched a a six-hitter on Friday in a 5-0 victory over the Montreal Expos.

Knight, formerly of Buena High and Ventura College, allowed home runs to Chipper Jones and Javy Lopez in one inning of the New York Yankees' 10-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

Towers, 24, might be in the majors to stay.

He has a 1.99 earned-run average in seven appearances, 16 consecutive scoreless innings and became the first Oriole rookie to pitch a shutout since 1992.

"It's working out the way you dream about it, not what you think will probably happen," he told reporters Friday. "It's just something you dream about. It's going well right now."

Knight, called up last week to replace injured Orlando Hernandez, allowed four runs and eight hits in his four-inning debut Tuesday against the Orioles.

His line after two outings: five innings, six earned runs, 10 hits, four home runs and a 10.80 ERA.

Knight, 25, was 5-3 with a 3.58 ERA at triple-A Columbus, where he was second in the league in strikeouts.

Some in New York speculated this weekend that Knight might be headed back to Columbus.

But nobody can take away the experience of walking into hallowed Yankee Stadium for the first time as a player, which he did last Sunday.

"When I walked in, I stopped by the monuments," he said. "This is where legends are made. I'm proud to be able to step on the field once. No matter what happens, I can say I was here once."

Chris Parker, a catcher from Westlake High, has been selected as a reserve for the East team in the Midwest League All-Star game, to be played June 19 in Dayton.

Parker is batting .294 for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Detroit Tigers' Class-A affiliate. . . .

Outfielder Damon Buford, formerly of Harvard-Westlake, signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles and was scheduled to report to triple-A Rochester on Saturday.

Buford, a 10th-round draft pick by Baltimore in 1990, has a career average of .242 in parts of nine seasons with the Orioles, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, who released him May 16. . . .

For those who missed the Major League Scouting Bureau open tryout on Saturday at Pierce College, another chance comes next Saturday at Fullerton College.

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