Former Orioles leftfielder Phil Bradley is finding that free agency is not quite the bonanza he anticipated. Bradley was injured much of last season, and his agent, Jim Turner, said interest has been minimal.
Bradley underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist June 22. The Orioles traded him to the Chicago White Sox July 30 after he labeled a contract offer from the club "humiliating."
The Orioles proposed a one-year deal with an option. At that time, Bradley was seeking three years. For the season, he batted .256 with four homers and 31 RBIs -- all far below his career averages.
Turner said he received two sets of medical reports indicating that Bradley is sound. But with so many free agents available, no club is going to put a questionable 31-year-old at the top of its priority list.
"Right now people aren't knocking his door down," Turner said. "He's coming off an injury, and it wasn't his best year. It's hard to convey to people how good a player he was during the one period of the year when he was healthy.
"I fully believe Phil Bradley was healthy for only two weeks after he came off the DL and up until Aug. 10 with the White Sox. It's hard for me to convey to people that wasn't an off year. That was an injury year."
* MAYBERRY C.O.D.: Clubs don't limit their talent search to major-league free agents in the offseason. Under general manager Roland Hemond, the Orioles have developed a reputation for signing outstanding minor-league free agents, and yesterday they added two more.
The first, Triple A righthander Greg Mayberry, qualified for free agency by serving the mandatory six years in the Los Angeles farm system. He was the Dodgers' No. 1 pick in 1984, but did not re-sign after going 4-7 with a 5.66 ERA for Triple A Albuquerque last season.
The second, catcher Jeff Gay, was released by California after batting .241 with six homers and 34 RBIs for Class A Quad Cities. The Angels have a reputation for misjudging talent, and the Orioles figured Gay -- a second-round draft pick in 1986 -- was worth a shot.
Mayberry almost certainly will be invited to major-league spring training. Lefthander Kevin Hickey, righthander Mickey Weston and infielders Tim Hulett and Jeff McKnight all signed with the Orioles as six-year minor-league free agents.
* AROUND THE HORN: The Orioles will host their annual Holiday hTC Benefit Sale Dec. 1 to 8 at Memorial Stadium. The Bird will make daily appearances and players are expected to be available for autographs on weekends. Sale hours are noon to 7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.
Stat of the day: Ben McDonald allowed only 3.2 runs per start, second lowest for American League pitchers with at least 15 starts. Minnesota's Allan Anderson had the lowest average, 3.1 runs per start.