%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

TORONTO (AP) _ Tony Batista was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles on Monday after he struggled with a .207 average and was waived by the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 27-year-old third baseman had a career year last season when he hit 41 home runs and drove in 114 RBIs. But this season he is off that pace, with 13 homers and 45 RBIs.

The Orioles picked up the rest of Batista's four-year, 16 million contract that he signed last year. He is earning $2.9 million this season and is to get $4.5 million next year and $6 million in 2003.

Baltimore played Toronto at SkyDome on Monday night.

The Jays called up infielder Chris Woodward from Triple A Syracuse. Jeff Frye is expected to handle most of the work at third base.

Batista was acquired by Toronto in June 1999 from the Arizona Diamondbacks for relievers John Frascatore and Dan Plesac.

In 324 games with the Blue Jays, Batista hit .258 with 80 home runs and 238 RBIs.

Woodward, 24, has appeared in 26 games with Toronto this season hitting .200 with two home runs and four RBIs.