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BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Baltimore Orioles optioned struggling pitcher Josh Towers to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday night, just 24 hours after the right-hander allowed 10 runs in a five-inning stint in Boston.

Towers, 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA, yielded a major league-high 11 homers in just 27 1-3 innings. He was demoted from the starting rotation to the bullpen last month, but the Orioles finally decided it would be best to get him some work at the minor league level.

``After taking him out of the rotation, we tried to get him back on track. But we can't provide the environment here for him to do that,'' Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.

The move was made after Baltimore beat Kansas City 6-2. To fill Towers' spot on the roster, the Orioles planned to purchase the contract of catcher Izzy Molina from Rochester.

Towers hoped to avoid a trip to the minors, but he knew that a demotion was a distinct possibility after his poor outing against the Red Sox, when he yielded three homers and 11 hits.

``Bottom line, I have to make an adjustment,'' he said Thursday afternoon. ``If I went down to just correct what I need to correct and then get called back up, that would be one thing. But if I got sent down because (they think) I can't pitch up here, well that's a whole different story.''

The Orioles definitely believe Towers has the potential to stick in the big leagues _ but not the way he's pitching now.

``Sometimes you have take one big step backward to be the player everyone thinks you can be,'' Hargrove said. ``It's all about getting Josh back here and him being effective. Josh has some things he needs to work on to be effective and consistent at the big league level.''

Said Towers: ``I'm going through some tough times right now, but I'm not the only one to go through something like this. Hitters go through it, too. I'll turn it around sooner or later.''

Molina hit .133 in 14 games with Rochester. The Orioles need a catcher, though, because starter Geronimo Gil has missed three straight games with a sore groin and hamstring.

Backup Brook Fordyce is hitting .034.

To make room for Molina on the 40-man roster, the Orioles will transfer right-hander Luis Rivera to the 60-day disabled list Friday.