CINCINNATI -- Pitcher Brian Holton and outfielder Brad Komminsk apparently will not be with the Baltimore Orioles next year. Both opted for free agency this week after the club failed to reinstate them to the 40-man roster.
Holton (2-3, 4.50 ERA in 33 games) was designated for assignment Aug. 2 and accepted a demotion to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings in hopes of earning his way back to the major leagues. When he was not recalled in September, he expressed a desire to sign with a National League club for the 1991 season. Now, he might get that chance, though Orioles general manager Roland Hemond would not rule out the possibility of re-signing him later.
"If he doesn't sign with somebody else, he could talk to us again," Hemond said. "If he had pitched exceptionally well at Rochester, we would have considered [reinstating him], but our 40-man roster is tight. We're at 39, and we have until Nov. 20 to protect some young players who aren't on it."
Komminsk was claimed on waivers from the San Francisco Giants on May 2, but did not do well in a part-time role, hitting .238 in 101 at-bats. He was designated for assignment July 20, but club officials seemed hopeful at the time that he could resurrect his career at Rochester. That obviously didn't happen.
The Orioles appear to be cleaning house in anticipation of an off-season restructuring that could begin soon after the World Series ends.
Holton and Komminsk are governed by baseball rules that guarantee a veteran player free agency if he is outrighted off a major-league roster for the second time in his career.
* The Orioles still are awaiting the results of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging test that was performed on the lower back of relief pitcher Joe Price this week in San Diego.
The test results will determine whether the club exercises its option to keep Price under contract through the 1991 season.
Price spent three weeks on the disabled list in June and July with severe lower-back pain. Team officials want more information on his condition, but it seems likely they will exercise the contract option before Saturday's deadline.
If the club fails to do so, Price (3-4, 3.58 in 50 games) will become a free agent.
* The countdown continues for Orioles catcher Mickey Tettleton, who remains unsigned and can file for free agency the day after the final game of the World Series. He cannot talk contract with other clubs until the 15-day filing period ends, but agent Tony Attanasio can conduct general conversations with anyone as soon as Tettleton files.
The Orioles refuse to comment on the Tettleton negotiations, but Hemond confirmed that he met with Attanasio in Oakland, Calif., last week.