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Spring Training #2 1998
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Guillen Makes Team; Johns, Rodriguez to Minors (3/30)

Well, the Orioles' roster for the season has been set, and as expected, Ozzie Guillen "won" the 25th spot despite his poor spring. In our weekly poll, only 21% of you thought Guillen should have that spot, with an overwhelming majority favoring pitcher Nerio Rodruguez. The Orioles, by the way, completed the spring with a 17-10-2 record.

Meanwhile, Mike Mussina begins the 1998 season with an even bigger role than he held last year. And in an unrelated story, Orioles have increased parking spaces for this season, which should hopefully clear up the parking problem caused by construction on the new football stadium. No, Mike Mussina isn't going to be a parking attendant.

Season Opening Roster Shapes Up (3/28)

Some of the last-minute roster decisions for the Orioles will be made based on the injury-situation. While Brady Anderson will play despite a bone chip, Lenny Webster may begin the season on the DL with Charlie Greene taking his place on the roster. In other news, Cal Ripken got into an argument with a fan wanting an autograph, and Peter Angelos announced that he likely won't be able to complete any contract extensions before opening day.

Now, in a season-opening installment of Ex-O's Report, see where your favorite ex-Orioles will be playing this season:

Former outfielder Jack Voigt is fighting for one of the final two spots on Oakland's bench with Kevin Mitchell and Shane Mack. Look, three guys better than Joe Carter. Designated hitter Pete Incaviglia and utility infielder Billy Ripken have both made Detroit's opening day roster. Left handed pitcher Brian Shouse, released by Pat Gillick for being too good and too young, earned the final slot in the Red Sox bullpen.

Juan Bell, the first Heir Apparent To Cal Ripken, was signed to a minor league deal by the Blue Jays, while Archie Corbin, who pitched very briefly for the Orioles, was sent to the minors by San Diego.

For years, Johnny Oates' Texas Rangers were known as the place where old Orioles went to die. But Voigt, Mike Devereaux, Damon Buford, Mickey Tettleton, and Craig Worthington have left or been shipped out, and only second baseman Mark McLemore remains. Tampa Bay now appears to have taken on the responsibility of keeping former Orioles busy in the spring. Esteban Yan has secured a job in the bullpen, while Aaron Ledesma will be the Devil Rays' utility infielder.

Meanwhile, they also gave long looks to outfielders Luis Polonia, Jerome Walton, and Dwight Smith. Smith was released, while Walton and Polonia were sent to the minors. As he did in Baltimore, Polonia whined about being sent to the minors and threatened to go home. In addition, pitcher Mark Eichhorn, catcher Tim Laker, andminor league third baseman Scott McClain were assigned to the minors by the Devil Rays.

Finally, switching expansion teams, expansion draft pick David Dellucci has made the Diamondback's opening day roster, and erstwhile Os closer Gregg Olson has been given a job in the bullpen. With the lack of a Proven Closer in Arizona, Olson could pick up some saves this season.

1998 Orioles: "Gamers" or Whiners? (3/27)

One of Ray Miller's stated reasons for signing all these veteran players is that they're "Gamers." He never quite explained what that word actually *means*, but there's some implication that it has to do with their positive, unselfish attitudes towards their teams. Miller never explained how he knew which players were "Gamers," either. Apparently the ones who spouted the most cliches got the label. But recent reports call this label into serious question.

Terry Mathews is basically whining that people don't think much of him as a pitcher. He's upset that after he gave up two homers in game 3 of the ALDS, Davey didn't use him again. And he thinks he shouldn't be booed. And that it's unfair that people judge him on his performance. And that the team isn't playing good defense behind him.

Joe Carter is whining that he didn't sign up to be a platoon player. Note that Miller isn't *really* talking about using him as a platoon player; as I've been insisting, the Os didn't sign him for $3.3M to get 150 ABs. They're talking about getting him 400 ABs. But to Carter, that's still being a platoon player. Of course, Rosenthal is busy kissing Carter's ass because he gets lots of RBIs, so he keeps insisting that Carter isn't Bonilla. But we're already making excuses for why Carter is going to suck -- because he needs to play regularly (as if 400 ABs isn't regularly).

BTW, if Ray doesn't pick Guillen, we probably "lose" him. Guillen has already said that he's not going to the minors, but rather home to Venezuela if he doesn't make the team. And I assume he's not coming back if he does. Yeah, what a great "leader"; if he doesn't make the team, he'll pack up and go home.

Questions Remain Despite High Payroll (3/26)

Despite the fact that the Orioles have the highest payroll in major league history, there are still plenty of question marks as the team heads north for opening day. Cal Ripken, meanwhile, answers questions relating to everything from his retirement to his feelings about former manager Davey Johnson.

Krivda, Tarasco Released; Brain Trust Once Again at Fault (3/25)

The Orioles are a dangerously old team, but rather than doing anything to address this issue, Pat Gillick and Ray Miller have exacerbated the problem. Today they released (!) Tony Tarasco and Rick Krivda, getting absolutely nothing for these two players. Krivda, in fact, was released the very same day Scott Kamieniecki was scratched from his spring start due to back spasms.

Perhaps because both Krivda and Tarasco can play, and the Orioles are trying to accumulate crappy veterans, neither one was given any chance by the brainrust to make the team. Instead, Ray Miller wasted half the spring looking at Doug Johns, an older, lousier version of Rick Krivda, and babbled about Ozzie Guillen being a left-handed bat off the bench, when that is _actually_ a description of Tony Tarasco.

It is hard to imagine what Ray Miller and Pat Gillick could possibly have been thinking when they made these decisions, assuming they were thinking at all. The club apparently no longer makes decisions based on the talent of players, and instead picks and chooses players at random and then simply releases anybody who loses the coin toss.

The signing of Ozzie Guillen to a minor league contract was defended by some as a low-cost, risk-free gamble. If he couldn't perform in spring training, the logic went, he wouldn't be added to the team. Instead, Ray Miller made it clear from day one that Ozzie Guillen would make the team no matter how badly he performed. And Ozzie Guillen has lived up to expectations, not hitting at all or fielding well. Through Sunday's exhibition game, Guillen's hitting .147 (5-34), and he has openly admitted that he has had trouble fielding second base.

This makes *THREE* players that Ozzie Guillen has cost the Orioles -- Steve Montgomery, Rick Krivda, and Tony Tarasco! All this for a player who hasn't hit adequately at any time in his career, or fielded acceptably since his knee injury five years ago!

While the 25th man on the roster is hardly the key to the Orioles' season, this decision is indicative of the lack of mental activity in the front office. Out of the five or six top options for that slot, the Orioles have released two of the best and kept the absolute worst.

Orioles Prepare for Opening Day (3/24)

Spring training featured only one real roster decision, and that was who would take the 25th and final spot on the roster. As Ozzie Guillen anxiously waits, Ray Miller has made it all but clear that Guillen will indeed be the second back-up infielder when the team heads north for opening day. Guillen, who said he wouldn't accept a demotion to the minors or a trade, beat out pitchers Nerio Rodriquez, Doug Johns, and Rick Krivda for the final spot.

And as opening day draws near, owner Peter Angelos is making a strong push to complete contract extensions with B.J. Surhoff and Scott Erickson. It appears all but certain that Rafael Palmeiro, another player eligible for free agency following the season, will be elsewhere next year, though recently he has changed his public stance and said he would be willing to accept less money to stay in Baltimore.

Finally, as we've mentioned quite often here, injuries are going to be a big concern for an old team like the Orioles. Noone is going to be watched more closely than Jimmy Key, who had a disasterous second half last season, but pitched 5 strong innings in the Orioles spring victory over the Twins yesterday. Opening Day is only a week away!

"Brain"-Trust Messes Up Again (3/13)

The Orioles, short on minor-league talent and featuring the majors oldest team, today lost one of their top prospects via the waiver process. Pitcher Steve Montgomery, out the entire year due to a shoulder injury suffered this spring, was claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers after the Orioles placed him on waivers to clear room on the 40-man roster for Ozzie Guillen, a 34-year old backup infielder.

This marks the second time in recent memory the front-office has made a blunder with young talent. In the trade with the Phillies that brought Todd Zeile and Pete Incaviglia to the Orioles in 1996, the Orioles were forced to package Garrett Stephenson along with Calvin Maduro. Initially, the Orioles had given the Phillies Don Florence, but that was before the front office had realized they had already released him just days earlier.

In other young-Oriole pitcher news, just one day after Rocky Coppinger blasted the organization for sending him down to Bowie without giving him a real chance to earn a job, he apparently has worked things out after talking with GM Pat Gillick and assistant-GM Kevin Malone. Coppinger had indicated that he might ask his agent to request a trade.

In ex-Oriole news, Ben McDonald, acquired by the Indians over the winter for outfielder Marquis Grissom, was traded back to the Brewers after it was realized he'd be out much longer than expected after having surgery on his rotator cuff. "In good faith, we have decided that it is fair to compensate the Indians with another player and to take Ben back," Milwaukee general manager Sal Bando said.

Finally, despite the fact that the Orioles raised ticket prices again, they have already sold over 3 million tickets for the 1998 season, leaving less than 800,000 available.

Spring Training Injuries Begin to Pile Up

As we noted earlier, it's been really busy around here so we haven't gotten around to updating the page as much as we'd have liked to. Hopefully next week we'll be back on a regular schedule.

That having been said, the Orioles have started off the spring 3-1-1, the latest game a loss to the Cardinals. More importantly, however, are the nagging injuries that are beginning to plague the Orioles. The most serious is to outfielder B.J. Surhoff, who has ligament damage to his finger and could be out for up to three weeks. We've said it before, but we'll say again that old teams tend to be more injury-prone than younger teams. Surhoff's joins Brady Anderson, Lenny Webster, Roberto Alomar, and Jeff Reboulet as Orioles bothered by injuries this spring. Of course, this doesn't even include minor-leaguers Steve Montgomery (likely out for season) and Danny Clyburn, who broke his left foot running the bases and will likely be out four weeks.

Nonetheless, Ray Miller's goal for this team is nothing less than a World Series appearance, and Thomas Boswell writes that this goal has become an obsession for this veteran ballclub to achieve.

It's Been a Busy Weekend...

For us anyway. Again, we apologize about the slowness in getting news up lately, but in the next few weeks, you'll see some new gadgets on the site. The first new one is a Message Board, where you can post messages about buying or selling tickets, or simply comment on Oriole activity or things we've said. All we ask is that you keep it Oriole/baseball related and that you at least *try* to keep it clean. Thanks, and we look forward to reading your comments...

Spring Training Updates

There's an Oriole web site that specializes in spring training information, so we thought we'd go ahead and pass that along to you. It has a lot of information for those of you who will actually get a chance to go to Florida to see some games. Also, we got an email asking us to pass along a link to another Orioles site, so you should go ahead and check that out as well.

Anyways, back in Florida, the Orioles are faced with another injury problem carried over from last year. Roberto Alomar's shoulder is still bothering him and he won't hit for a few days to allow his shoulder to completely heal. Though this probably isn't serious, with an old ballclub, we can expect more injuries this season. Along these same lines, Cal Ripken says that the back problem that almost forced him to end his consecutive games streak last season is almost healed, but that it still bothers him from time to time.

And in an interesting story, Delegate Michael Burns introduced a bill that would prevent the Orioles or the Ravens from raising ticket prices without approval from the Maryland Stadium Authority. Burns argues that there are strings attached when the state builds a stadium for you. However, don't get your hopes up, because a bill like this will never pass.

Ex-Oriole Report: Orsulak Signs with Mets

It's been a busy weekend, so we weren't able to update the page as much as we'd have liked to. We have a ton of spring training updates and information to get out to you, and we'll do that just as soon as we can. In the meantime, the Mets announced that they no longer are pursuing Gary Sheffield of the Marlins, and instead signed former Oriole OF Joe Orsulak to a minor league deal today. Orsulak, who played with the Expos last year, spent three years with the Mets after leaving the Orioles in the late 80s. Orsulak, a very popular player with both fans and management, is likely to secure a bench role with the Mets.

Bad news coming out of training camp is that the Orioles have already suffered their first casualty of the spring. Already short on young talent in the minors leagues, the Orioles took another hit in promising pitcher Steve Montgomery, who tore cartilage in his shoulder socket and will likely be out the entire season. And Brady Anderson, who has played through various injuries in the past including apendicitis and broken ribs, says that he may not be able to play in the early stages of the exhibition season because he is still bothered by a sore groin. More spring training updates and information to follow shortly...

Hammonds Signs 3-Year Deal with Orioles

Jeffrey Hammonds and the Orioles avoided a salary arbitration hearing by agreeing to a 3 year, $7 million dollar contract. At 26, Hammonds is the only position player under 30 who will play regularly in 1998, though the addition of Joe Carter is likely to limit his playing time. In any case, Hammond's contract just adds to the major-league leading $70 million payroll, though owner Peter Angelos insists that as long as the club is winning, he's willing to spend the money. Of course, the payroll would be lower if the Orioles would give some younger players a chance instead of overpaying for aging, past-their-prime veteran free agents...

Hope Springs Eternal as Pitchers, Catchers Report to Spring Training

Unfortunately for the Orioles, there's no fountain of youth in Florida. Sunday, pitchers and catchers reported to the Orioles spring training complex in Ft. Lauderdale in what promises to be an uneventful spring training. The only roster decision for new manager Ray Miller is whether to keep Nerio Rodriguez as the seventh member of the bullpen, or to keep an extra utility infielder in Ozzie Guillen. This is a last-chance effort at the World Series for the aging Orioles, and Miller insists that "We know it. There's no reason that winning the whole thing shouldn't be our goal." ESPN Sportszone, however, believes that with their offseason transactions, the Orioles are unlikely to repeat their 98-win performance of 1997, and will more than likely be in for a huge dropoff from last season.

Brady Anderson Credits Success to Non-Existent Baseball Program

Brady Anderson played baseball at the University of California, Irvine from 1982-1985. Now soccer goals sit in the outfield. Like many other schools who faced budget cuts earlier in the decade, baseball, among other sports, was cut from UC Irvine's program in 1992, and has yet to be brought back. "Every college should have a baseball team," says Anderson.

After Rocky 1997, Coppinger Looks to Prove Himself

Rocky Coppinger has basically fallen out of the Orioles plans despite winning 10 games as a rookie in 1996. After a lost 1997 in which Coppinger angered Oriole officials by hiding an injury and publicly criticizing management, Coppinger is looking to prove himself. Coppinger, along with prospects Calvin Pickering and Sidney Ponson, got on the right track by spending two weeks in January at Duke University's sports conditioning facility getting in shape.

Another Dose of Ex-Oriole Report

Reliever Gregg Olson signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks last week. This makes the seventh organization Olson has played in since he was released by the Orioles following the 1993 season. He has had only brief periods of effectiveness since that time, but given major league teams' obsession with major league experience, especially at closer, and given Arizona's lack of a Proven Closer, he stands a solid shot of earning a major league job.

RHP Shawn Boskie will not be an Oriole next season. Boskie, an absolutely disaster for the 1997 Orioles, signed a minor league contract with the Montreal Expos. Boskie had no history of success before he was signed to a minor league contract and then given a major league job by Pat Gillick. This pattern fuels the fears of Orioles fans regarding 1998 signings like Norm Charlton.

In other news, the Orioles are closer to a contract extension with outfielder B.J. Surhoff, as majority owner Peter Angelos has now entered the negotiations. Also, Angelos says that he has no intention of enforcing the fine imposed on Roberto Alomar last season that led to Davey Johnson's resignation. And finally, Angelos has begun talks with assistant General Manager Kevin Malone about taking over the GM duties next season, as current GM Pat Gillick is set to retire at the end of this season.

Jurassic Park at Camden Yards?

Hoiles: 33 Palmeiro: 34 Alomar: 30 Bordick: 33 Ripken: 38 Surhoff: 34 Anderson: 34 Davis: 35 Baines: 39 Carter: 38 Guillen: 34 Key: 37 Drabek: 36 Kamieniecki: 34 Orosco: 41

"Baseball history says that a team this old at so many positions has one probable destiny: late-season disintegration." writes Thomas Boswell.

1998 Orioles Fanfest

Neither of us could make it to fanfest this weekend, so if anyone went and has an interesting story to share, we'd love to hear from you. Thanks...

A Flurry of Oriole Activity

The Orioles offseason got a little interesting today, and there is a ton of information to report (see the *5* stories that follow):
The Other Ozzie? Is Gillick Insane?
In an attempt to corner the market on the worst players in baseball, Pat Gillick today signed former White Sox SS Ozzie Guillen to a AAA contract. From Gillick's statements, past and present, it seems pretty clear that Guillen has been handed the 25th and final slot on the roster, giving the Orioles three shortstops who can't hit at all.

Gillick praised Guillen for being "not only a quality baseball player, but a quality person as well," and described him as "another veteran to come off the bench with the ability to play regularly if needed." This calls into question (a) whether Pat Gillick knows which shortstop named Ozzie he signed, (b) whether Pat Gillick has followed major league baseball in the last 15 years, and (c) whether Pat Gillick can tell the difference between a baseball player and tuna salad.

Guillen is essentially Mike Bordick, without the range in the field and with even less plate discipline. He was always one of the worst hitters in the game, with no power at all and no walks, but since his knee injury in 1992, when he crashed into Tim Raines and missed most of the season, his speed and range have been missing. Why any major league team would want *any* of Bordick, Reboulet, and Guillen, let alone all three at once, is unclear. Their skills, such as they are, are redundant. This is a another example of Pat Gillick giving jobs to undeserving veterans instead of to the young players that have earned them.

Berroa's Deal with Indians less than Carter's Deal with O's
As expected, DH/RF Geronimo Berroa today signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians, for $2.2 million. In other words, a player that does EVERYTHING better than Joe Carter was released by the Orioles so that the Orioles could spend 50% more on Carter. Because the Indians have Brian Giles, Dave Justice, and Berroa to fill their LF/DH slots, this move may be a precursor to a trade of Giles for Chuck Knoblauch.
HTS Announces New Analyst to Replace Flanagan
It appears that former-Yankee catcher Rick Cerone has been chosen to join play-by-play man Michael Reghi in the booth for HTS broadcasts. Cerone would replace Mike Flanagan, who left to become the Orioles pitching coach.
O's to Unveil New Logo at Fanfest this Weekend
This is just to remind all readers that the annual Orioles fanfest will be held this Saturday and Sunday. The Orioles are expected to show off their new logo, which is depicted below thanks to the Baltimore Sun Website.
Yet Another Ex-Oriole Report
Ok, very Ex-O report: Forty-three year old RHP Dennis Martinez signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves. Martinez is on a quest to become the winningest Latin pitcher in major league history, and is just three wins behind leader Juan Marichal. Martinez's career appeared over when he was released by the Mariners early last season, but he pitched in the winter leagues and wants to give it one last shot.

A DUOP double?

It has come to our attention that a certain page has been ripping things off from us, but we won't post the url unless you really want to know...

In any case, good news for Oriole fans is that second baseman Roberto Alomar will report to spring training " at or near full strength" after spending the winter recovering from shoulder surgery.

The Orioles have opened discussions with Scott Erickson regarding a contract extension. Erickson is apparently seeking a 4-year deal worth as much as $7 million per season. And unlike Cal Ripken, Mike Mussina, and Brady Anderson, Erickson's agent has hinted that he wouldn't be willing to sign with Baltimore for less than his market value.

In other news, the Orioles have come to terms with outfielder Danny Clyburn, and pitchers Everett Stull and Rick Krivda. Also, GM Pat Gillick sent a scout to watch free-agent pitcher Jack McDowell throw, but doesn't know if the Orioles will bid on McDowell, who was injured much of last season. And finally, Gillick denied the rumor that the Orioles were going to trade OF Jeffrey Hammonds to the Phillies for closer Rick Bottalico.

Ex-Os Report: Baltimore Orioles, Southern Edition?

In an attempt to corner the market on journeymen ex-Orioles, the Devil Rays issued non-roster spring training invitations to outfielders Dwight Smith, Jerome Walton and Luis Polonia, to middle relievers Mark Eichhorn and Brad Pennington, and to catchers Cesar Devarez and Tim Laker. Only Walton and Laker appeared in the majors last year, both with the Os, and both very briefly. The chances that any of these players will prove useful are roughly the same as the chance that Princess Diana has of becoming Queen of England, but given the choice between gambling on an unproven rookie and bungee jumping without a cord, most major league GMs would choose the latter, so don't discount their chances of making the team.

On a different note, OF/DH Geronimo Berroa is rumored to be talking to the Indians, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. Some team is going to get a tremendous bargain on the Chief, showing how foolish Pat Gillick was for letting him go.

Ex-Oriole Report, Manny Style

Manny Alexander, the former heir-apparent to Cal Ripken, agreed to a one-year deal with the Cubs that will pay him $425,000. Last season, Alexander earned $205,000 while batting .266 with 3 homers, 22 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases in 87 games with the Cubs and Mets.

Can the Orioles Continue to Get Older?

Following the 1998 season, several prominent Orioles, including Roberto Alomar, Eric Davis, Rafael Palmeiro, Scott Erickson, and Jimmy Key will become free agents. Outfielder B.J. Surhoff is also among the players whose deal expires following the season, but Orioles officials have begun to discuss a contract extension for the 33-year old. While owner Peter Angelos has been able to sign players for less than their market value (Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson, and Mike Mussina), the Orioles are dangerously close to the point where they are going to have to stop signing aging former-stars and start the rebuilding process, no matter how reluctant Angelos is to do so.

Ex-Oriole Report, Part II

RHP Pete Harnisch, whose career was derailed by a long stint on the DL for depression last season, signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Reds, after spending last season with the Mets and Brewers. Bob Milacki, who was a key starter for the 1989 Why Not? Orioles, signed a AAA contract with the Houston Astros. Milacki did not appear in the majors in 1997. Former closer and MLB's all-time saves leader Lee Smith signed a AAA contract with the Kansas City Royals. Minor league pitcher Hector Ramirez, who the Orioles received in the Manny Alexander trade, was claimed off waivers by the Yankees.

Benitez Avoids Arbitration

Armando Benitez, who should take over the closer role vacated by Randy Myers, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a 1-year $900,000 contract. Incentives could make the deal worth over $1 million for the 25-year old right-hander, who finished last season with a 2.45 ERA. The only other Orioles eligible for arbitration are outfielders Jeffrey Hammonds and Tony Tarrasco.

1998 Oriole Outlook

As you can see from our hit counter in the left frame, this page is taking off fast. The only way this page is going to get better is with your help, so we actively recruit your thoughts, comments, and suggestions. We're getting hits from all around the country and all around the world, and since we can't be everywhere at once, we need to rely on your help to email us links to interesting stories from sources that we don't normally come across.

In any case, we at DUOP have put together a brief 1998 Oriole outlook for each position, and as we get closer to spring training, we'll compile a list of predictions from various sources on how the Orioles will perform this year. Soon, we hope to have a bulletin board up and running so you can tell us how brilliant or crazy our predictions are, and just to discuss the Orioles in general.

A New Feature: Ex-Oriole Report

For those of you trying to keep track of your favorite Orioles around baseball, we at DUOP (David's Unofficial Oriole Page) present you with the first installment of Ex-Os Report...

First though, a story from the Washington Post on current Oriole Eric Davis, who is set to complete his third six-week set of chemotherapy treatments early next month before reporting to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for spring training. Davis, who had a fist-sized cancerous tumor removed from his colon last June, has "the same sense of anticipation for this season that I've had for every other season."

And now, on to the Ex-Oriole Report:

OF/DH Pete Incaviglia just signed a AAA contract with Detroit, with whom he played in 1991, and was invited to spring training. With the recent release of Bob Hamelin, Incaviglia stands a reasonable chance of making the club as a bat off the bench. Bobby Bonilla, currently the Marlins 3Bman, is having wrist surgery, and is expected to miss most of spring training. OF Mike Devereaux, who began his career with the Dodgers, signed a AAA contract and was also invited to spring training, with an opportunity to win a bench role. After being released by the Rangers last year, his chances of staying in the majors appear slim. IF Jeff Huson, who was a utility played with the Brewers last season, signed a AAA contract with Colorado and appeared to have a good shot at making the team. He was chosen in the recent Rule V draft by Seattle and should remain with the Mariners all season. OF Sherman Obando also signed a AAA contract with the Rockies and received a spring training invitation. He is not expected to start the season in the majors. SP Ben McDonald, recently traded from the Brewers to the Indians, underwent shoulder surgery last July, and will be out until May after pushing himself too hard during offseason workouts. IF Pete Rose Jr., who started in the Orioles organization but never made it to the majors, signed a AAA contract with the Reds. Richie Lewis, a journeyman reliever who came up through the Orioles organization before being chosen by the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft, signed a AAA contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

And finally, Curt Blefary , who won American League Rookie of the Year with the Orioles in 1965, participated in a chat session with ESPNet Sportszone users. He talks about winning the 1966 World Series and playing with Frank and Brooks Robinson. Blefary, who now resides in the Virgin Islands, has a strong desire to return to the game and coach, but so far he hasn't received any offers.

Ripken Update

Cal Ripken Jr. is doing everything in his "normal offseason program," and insists that his back is much better than it was last August, when he almost walked off the field in pain in a game against Oakland. Ripken, 37, decided against offseason back surgery, and will bring his record 2,478 consecutive games streak to spring training next month.

Another Veteran to Join Staff?

Well, not for now, as the Chicago Cubs signed closer Rod Beck to a 1-year deal worth $4 million. Orioles GM Pat Gillick had intensified his efforts to acquire Beck in the last few days to replace Randy Myers, who signed with the Toronto Blue Jays last month as a free agent. According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, adding Beck would allow new manager Ray Miller to ease "youngsters" Armando Benitez and Arthur Rhodes into the closers role. Don't hold your breath for too long though, as apparently Ricky Bottalico of the Philadelphia remains a possibility, and the Phillies have had an interest in one of the few players on the Orioles under 30, Jeffrey Hammonds, for some time now.

© 1998 The Orioles Warehouse
Not labelled for individual retail sale.
Last Updated: March 30, 1998