CHICAGO -- The three victims of Tuesday's roster reshuffle were expected to join the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings last night in Toledo, Ohio.
Jeff Robinson, Jeff Ballard and Paul Kilgus were scheduled to drive to Rochester to drop off their belongings before catching an afternoon flight to join the minor-league club.
"I talked to all of them," general manager Roland Hemond said. "They were supposed to arrive at about 7 p.m."
Robinson had hinted that he might not report because of the groin injury that required a pair of cortisone shots last week, but he apparently has decided against that course of action and even called Orioles manager John Oates yesterday to make sure there were no hard feelings.
"I like Jeff Robinson," Oates said. "He called me this morning, and that shows what kind of person he is. But you've got to understand that you can't go around ripping management. You've got to control your emotions.
"There are times in this game when -- no matter how disappointed you are -- you've got to bite your tongue."
Though Robinson said Tuesday that he did not want to come back to the Orioles, Oates isn't ready to write him off yet.
"I'd be willing to bet that if Jeff Robinson were called up today and put on the mound, he would try just as hard as ever," Oates said. "I know that."
Ballard, who expressed his disappointment in a less inflammatory manner, is scheduled to make his first start for the Red Wings tonight.
Oates deflects contract talk
Oates still is not signed for the 1992 season, but he doesn't seem particularly concerned about it.
"It's not bothering me, and I don't think it should bother anyone else," he said. "Whether I'm signed or not isn't going to make me a better manager over the next two months or a worse manager."
Bill Ripken: Not yet
Second baseman Bill Ripken will not be activated until at least Monday, and perhaps later.
"He's still experiencing some tiredness in his rib cage," Oates said.
Cal Ripken: An off-month
Cal Ripken batted just .245 in July after hitting no lower than .338 in any other month this season, but he remains among the league's most productive hitters.
"Every time I think he might go into a one or two-game tailspin, he goes out and gets three hits," Oates said. "He's been able to make corrections on a daily basis."
Right-hander Dave Johnson said yesterday that he still experiences groin soreness after each start, but that there has been steady improvement the past few weeks.
"It's getting better," he said. "It doesn't affect me at all. I just long- toss between starts instead of throwing on the side to give it a chance to recover."