Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer worked out in front of Baltimore Orioles scout Miguel Machado again yesterday, but said afterward that he probably would go back to broadcasting before he would go to spring training without a contract.
"I don't know what's going to happen," he said, "but if people aren't going to make any kind of commitment, then I've got to broadcast. I've got a family to feed."
Palmer said he threw better in his second workout for Orioles officials in four days, but Machado told general manager Roland Hemond that he did not see a significant difference in the two performances.
The club remains non-committal about Palmer's chances of resuming his playing career in Baltimore. He wants more than an invitation to camp, and it seems unlikely the team would sign him to a contract without an extensive spring-training audition.
"I talked to Roland [Hemond] about that," Palmer said. "Does that show any commitment on their part? I told him don't want them to do something for PR purposes. Of course, I want to play for the Orioles, but I'd rather go to a team that will give me a chance to make the ballclub."
The Orioles have invited several other veteran players to camp, which opens Friday.
Left-hander Mike Flanagan, who hasn't pitched since he was released early last season by the Toronto Blue Jays, will get a chance to win a job. Outfielder-designated hitter Larry Sheets, an ex-Oriole, and former Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt also hope to revive their careers. But Palmer understandably is concerned that the Orioles might invite him to camp out of a sense of obligation instead of a real feeling that he could make the club.
He stopped short of saying that he would have to have a guaranteed contract to report to spring training, but seemed to indicate that a lengthy tryout period was not acceptable.
"I already work for the Orioles, so I think something creative could be worked out," he said.