CINCINNATI -- Lefthander Daniel Boone will attend spring training with the Orioles next season. Righthander Brian Holton and Brad Komminsk probably will not.
On the same day Boone accepted an outright assignment to Triple A Rochester, general manager Roland Hemond said Holton and Komminsk have filed for free agency.
Neither player was added to the Orioles' 40-man roster at the end of the season, and each exercised his right to become a free agent as a three-year veteran with no minor-league options.
Holton, 30, was 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA as a middle-inning reliever for the Orioles before getting demoted in early August. At Rochester he was 1-4 with a 9.19 ERA.
Komminsk, 29, was claimed on waivers from San Francisco on May 2. He batted .238 with three homers and eight RBIs before his demotion in late July. At Rochester he hit .291 with one homer and eight RBIs.
"What they'll do now is test the market," Hemond said yesterday. "They could come back to us and say they want to play with us. There's always that possibility."
Such a scenario seems more likely for Komminsk than for Holton, one of three players the Orioles acquired for Eddie Murray in December 1988. Holton said last month he wants to return to the National League.
* AND BOONE? No one seriously expected the Orioles would keep the 5-foot-8 lefthander on their 40-man roster, and Boone grudgingly accepted his assignment rather than become a free agent.
Boone, 36, returned to the majors this season for the first time since 1982. He posted a 2.79 ERA in four appearances, including one start. Prior to that he was 11-5 with eight saves at Rochester.
No team claimed him off waivers, and it follows that Boone probably will not be selected in the December major-league draft even though he will be unprotected.
"I'm obviously disappointed," he said. "But I understand what they're doing. If things don't work out in spring training, I'm sure I'll have a job somewhere else."
Said Hemond, "This still allows him to be in the organization. We needed some space on the roster. This doesn't mean he doesn't have a chance to be with us next year."
* GETTING CLOSE: Lefthander Joe Price underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test on his back last Thursday, and the Orioles are expected to resolve his status within the next few days.
Price, who turns 34 on Nov. 29, will become a free agent if the Orioles do not pick up the $400,000 option year of his contract by Saturday.
Hemond said he wants to learn the results of the MRI before reaching his decision. Price, meanwhile, said he is working out with physical therapist Bob Day in San Diego to erase any doubts over his condition.
"I'm paying for it myself, with the intention that I want to be the best I can be, for whoever I play with," Price said. "After four sessions, there's no doubt I can do anything anybody else can do.
"I'm doing it because if anybody else has any questions, I want to show them my back is strong, my flexibility is good, there's nothing to worry about."
Price (3-4, 3.58) was on the disabled list from June 29 to July 15, but he finished with 50 appearances, his most since 1982. He stranded 41 of his 50 inherited runners, an excellent percentage.