NEW YORK -- The agent for Mickey Tettleton said yesterday the Orioles will get the first crack at re-signing the switch-hitting catcher regardless of the offers he receives as a free agent.
Agent Tony Attanasio cited his excellent relationship with cluofficials as the reason for his unusual negotiating position, which is yet another indication of Tettleton's desire to stay in Baltimore.
"We will give them a fair and reasonable opportunity to sigMickey no matter what is on the market," Attanasio said. "I'm not going to have them bidding against each other.
"I can say that to the Baltimore Orioles. I wouldn't say that tother organizations. I don't have the trust and confidence in some of those organizations.
"Mickey knows what he wants," Attanasio continued. "He'essentially told the Orioles what that is. It's up to them to accept or reject it. There's no bitterness. Absolutely none."
Tettleton is believed to be seeking a three-year deal, probably ithe $4-5 million range. He described his talks with the Orioles as "real dead" Tuesday night, but they are expected to resume once the season ends.
It was believed Tettleton rejected a two-year, $3 million offer iJuly, but Attanasio labeled such speculation as "absolutely false." The negotiations broke down over the length of contract.
Philadelphia's Darren Daulton is the only other prominencatcher eligible for free agency. Seattle, Texas and both New York clubs are among the teams who might be in the market for a catcher.
"I look around to other clubs and see very glaring needs behinthe plate," Attanasio said.
Tettleton, 30, is batting .219 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs. He haset a single-season club record with 156 strikeouts in 433 at-bats, but leads the majors with 104 walks.
Attanasio has said he would be "foolish" not to file for freagency when the season ends. The Orioles will receive a first- or second-round draft pick as compensation if Tettleton signs with another team.
* IS SUNDAY D-DAY? That's 'D' as in lefthander Dan Boone, whis among the candidates to start Sunday against Cleveland. Robinson has not decided who will pitch, but Boone wants the ball.
"Are you kidding?" Boone said. "That's been my desire from waback. I'd love it. This has been a dream season for me anyway. That would just be another dream come true."
Boone, 36, hasn't earned a major-league victory in eight yearsbut Robinson was unaware of his desire to pitch until yesterday. "I'll give that some consideration," Robinson said. "I'd like to make him happy."
One other Boone note: He switched his uniform number from 3to 13 in honor of Wally Kincaid, his former coach at Cerritos Junior College. "It's an easy number to get," Boone said. "A lot of guys don't want it."
Boone pitched one inning in the Orioles' 4-2 loss to New Yorlast night, and after relieving Jose Bautista he allowed an infield single by Jesse (3-for-4) Barfield that gave the Yankees their insurance run.
* A LOSS, OF COURSE: Robinson said lefthander Jeff Ballardid "a good job" in his first start since July 16, but it was typical of his season that he lost despite allowing three runs (two earned) in 5 1/3 innings.
After throwing 101 pitches, Ballard said, "I was pleased witwhat I did. It's been a long time since I've thrown that many pitches. But I threw the ball pretty well."
He's 1-10 as a starter, 1-1 as a reliever.
* DEPARTMENT OF DENIALS: The New York Daily Newspeculated yesterday that Orioles first-base coach Johnny Oates one of several candidates for a coaching position with the Yankees next year.
"I don't know anything about it," Oates said. "I'm property of thOrioles. No one has contacted them for permission to talk. I don't how that gets started. I'm happy doing what I'm doing."
Oates, 44, has previous ties to new Yankees general manageGene Michael -- he was the dugout coach when Michael was manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1986-87.
Orioles general manager Roland Hemond said the Yankees have not asked permission to speak with Oates, who is the leading candidate to replace Robinson when the latter decides to move into the front office.
* THE HICK-MAN GOES HOLLYWOOD: Kevin Hickey didn'pitch last night, but his day didn't go to waste. The irrepressible ,, lefthander appeared in a skit for HBO's Comedy Channel.
The skit centers on the relationship between a major leaguewho never played in the minors, and a minor leaguer who never played in the majors. Hickey, naturally, plays himself.
At one point the major leaguer asks Hickey, "What's the book ome?" Hickey replies, "The Bible. The team priest comes and gives me the last rites every time I face you."
"I made that one up," Hickey said, laughing.
HBO has featured other athletes in comedy roles, includinboxer Mark Breland and race-car driver Danny Sullivan. Hickey said the skit will air in several weeks.
* AROUND THE HORN: Third baseman Leo Gomez made a poothrow in the fourth inning for his fourth error in nine games. That's one more than shortstop Cal Ripken has made in 651 chances this season.
The Orioles won't tie the record for fewest passed balls in season (three). Catcher Bob Melvin committed No. 4 ball on a knuckleball from Boone. The record is shared by the '75 Red Sox, '84 Royals and '85 Blue Jays.
New York lefthander Chuck Cary was 1-9 in his previous 1starts before pitching 6 2/3 innings for the victory last night. He also beat Ballard last season in the Orioles' final home game, a 2-0 shutout that prevented the club from tying Toronto for first place.