Team hopes signing sends message
Keeping Evans is also a project
Baltimore Orioles officials see a residual effect to yesterday's signing of Glenn Davis to a two-year contract.
"This certainly gives a message to Dewey Evans and others about what we're attempting to do," said general manager Roland Hemond.
"It was our No. 1 priority, and it shows our seriousness about what we're doing. It should serve well with other players."
Hemond has been exploring the free-agent lists recently and made some inquiries. No names have been announced, but the Orioles are assuredly looking at pitchers.
Evans, the team's second player on the free-agent roster, has also expressed contentment with his year in Baltimore, but "he wants to look around as well," said president Larry Lucchino.
"Signing Glenn was never a certainty. We wanted to get it done, so we knew the direction we were headed. This allows us to know where we are."
Neither official would comment on the trade rumors concerning second baseman Bill Ripken or the team's interest in Juan Samuel.
"We can't comment on that," said Hemond. "Many names come up in conversations."
Infield grass installed
The sod has been planted in the infield in the new ballpark, which is "approaching 90 percent complete," according to Bruce Hoffman, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Orioles groundskeeper Paul Zwaska said the sod, grown at Oakwood Farms in Salisbury, is "some of the best I've seen come out of the state of Maryland."
By the end of the weekend, the grounds crew and representatives of the Prescription Athletic Turf system hope to have the outfield covered as well.
The system will be a major improvement over that at Memorial Stadium, with a vacuum drainage system beneath the soil and underlying sand to hold delays from heavy rains to a minimum.
"We're on time," said Hoffman. "We're moving at a pretty good clip. The plan is to have it [the stadium] complete by the end of February."
In the early returns from winter ball, Leo Gomez is batting .333 (2-for-6) with a double, home run and 3 walks at Santurce, Puerto Rico, and David Segui is at .250 (3-for-12) with 3 RBI at Ponce. . . . Davis left the stadium en route to Columbus, Ga., to attend the opening of the Glenn Davis Home for Boys and Teresa Davis Home for Girls. "I'll be happy to be able to announce it and see the doors open," he said. It will house orphaned and abused children. He is also holding a golf tournament in Atlanta to benefit the project.